Broadwater and McKinley begin major renovations

2014-06-12T00:00:00Z 2014-07-28T16:55:10Z Broadwater and McKinley begin major renovationsBy SEAN PLEMMONS splemmons@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Rain or shine, renovations on Broadwater and McKinley elementary schools will be on track for an August 2015 completion.

Both schools are more than 100 years old and the renovations will provide updates to bring aspects of the buildings into the 21st century.

Lew Anderson, School District 2’s bond project supervisor, said the renovations are moving along as expected.

“A lot of wheels are turning right now,” Anderson said. “When you have five different trades in one building it can be difficult, but they are working together and communicating well.”

Anderson said there are more than 50 projects within the district this summer and all of the elementary and middle schools will be affected in some way. The projects range from roofing and electrical work to carpeting and asphalt work.

“If you pick any school in the district, there will be something going on,” Anderson said.

Students will still attend school at Broadwater because renovations will halt during the school year and continue again next summer. The school will lose a bit of playground space, but gain it back when the annex is finally demolished after main building renovations are done.

Some of the work at Broadwater includes a new roof, air conditioning, new windows and a complete restoration of the hardwood floors.

The new building next to the current school will be modeled after the the old architecture.

As for the McKinley building, there will be a demolition of the shorter section of the school. Once asbestos abatement and demolition are complete, a new three-story building will be built right next to the older building.

The basement of McKinley will be raised so the floor will be level throughout the basement. The old woodwork will also be restored as well as the addition of air conditioning and new electrical work.

Because of the extensive renovations to McKinley, third-, fourth- and fifth-graders will attend school at the Lincoln Center downtown for the next year. Kindergarten through second grade will still attend school on the upper floors of McKinley.

In both schools, the only floor with a bathroom is the basement. The bathrooms will be renovated along with the addition of a bathroom on each floor of the new buildings.

Almost $13 million will be spent on Broadwater renovation, while a little more than $13 million will be spent on McKinley.

Anderson said the renovations cost 3 to 5 percent more than construction of a completely new building, but the historical schools will contain all of the new amenities of a brand-new school, while retaining the old architecture.

“We want to preserve the historic look of the buildings,” Anderson said. “We will have state-of-the-art systems installed and restore many of the original aspects of the buildings.”

Anderson said more than 80 percent of the renovations will be done by local groups and businesses.

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