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Construction on schedule at new DeKalb High School

Created: Saturday, February 26, 2011 5:30 a.m. CST
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 9:46 p.m. CST

DeKALB – Cardboard and paper still cover the floor of the main entrance to the new DeKalb High School.

“It’s gorgeous when you see it,” said Don Biggs, DeKalb School District 428’s executive director of facilities.

The floor has an abstract logo that matches a design found on the window of the main entrance, as well as on walls throughout the building. At the center of the main entrance sits the frame for a refurbished clock tower that was built for the original DeKalb High School. The clock will be encased in glass, and its inner workings will be visible to those who walk through the doors of the building.

Although many of the hallway floors are covered in paper, construction on the new DeKalb High School is ahead of schedule.

The new school, located at West Dresser Road and Wildflower Lane in DeKalb, sits on a little more than 87 acres and is more than 400,000 square feet in size. It will open this fall. The district is still within its original budget of about $80 million, Biggs said.

District 428 Superintendent Jim Briscoe said the high school is 90 to 95 percent complete, and construction workers are moving in furniture, doing trim work and adding fixtures.

Briscoe hopes the new building will be completely turned over to the district by mid-May or mid-June, which is when he hopes to have occupancy permits.

“They’re doing the finish work, but that’s going to take some time,” Briscoe said.

Biggs said workers earlier this week were preparing to stain the floor of the main gymnasium, and orange ductwork has been installed.

Mondo flooring is in the process of being completed in the field house.

Cupboards and countertops have been installed in many of the classroom spaces, and hallways are lined with chairs awaiting to be placed in classrooms.

About 900 desks are slated to arrive Monday and Tuesday. Biggs said the district is expecting about 2,000 desks.

Biggs said the school has taken a few steps to be energy efficient, including installing energy-efficient windows, natural lighting, motion-sensor lights and “ice makers” – large containers that make ice in the evening when energy costs are low to be used to cool the school in the summer months.

“They will make back the money within three years and will save continually on energy costs,” Briscoe said.

Another energy saver is an underground sprinkler system, which staff can use to control the amount of water being used and save manpower, Briscoe said. Two outdoor courtyards provide natural lighting for interior classrooms and hallways. The district also used removable carpet squares throughout hallways and classrooms, allowing them to replace only certain sections of carpet.

Lockers have been installed in the new school’s nine locker bays, which are wings off of hallways. The lockers are shorter, Biggs said, so they can be better monitored. Briscoe said the locker bays also allow more space in the hallway for students and staff to walk.

Workers also are preparing to install seating and carpeting in the auditorium, which will seat about 800 people. Mirrors and white boards are hanging in classrooms and workout studios.

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