Summer comes a day early for Broadwater, McKinley; renovations begin Friday

2014-06-05T00:15:00Z 2014-07-01T17:23:20Z Summer comes a day early for Broadwater, McKinley; renovations begin FridayBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Students at Broadwater and McKinley elementary schools get extra day of summer vacation.

The two schools are out for break on Thursday while the rest of the district gets out on Friday.

Major renovations at the two schools begin in earnest on Friday, the last day of school for the rest of School District 2. Building up to that day, teachers at the schools have been packing and boxing up supplies and equipment for the last several weeks.

“We’ve gotta totally clear out a building that’s never been cleared out before,” said McKinley principal Burt Reyes.

McKinley, like Broadwater, is three stories tall and over 100 years old. As far as Reyes can tell, the school has never been emptied out before.

It needs to be empty because renovations at both schools will include an entire remodeling of the interiors. The annex building at McKinley will be demolished in the next two weeks.

The annex at Broadwater will survive until the end of construction. The school will use it to house students while work on the school’s new wing is undertaken. Once the new wing is built, the annex will be torn down.

To accommodate the space crunch at McKinley, third-, fourth- and fifth-graders will attend class at Lincoln Center downtown. Once the new wing at McKinley is completed, the students will return.

Both projects are scheduled to be finished by the start of school in 2016.

Lew Anderson, SD2’s bond project supervisor, said it was necessary to squeeze out the extra day at McKinley and Broadwater because of that tight deadline.

“Every day is precious this summer,” he said.

The major contractors on the projects, Hardy and Dick Anderson Construction, have teamed up to help the renovations move along more quickly and smoothly. It also ensures higher quality work and it means they don’t have to compete for the same subcontractors, Anderson said.

That helps to keep the work local, he said.

“We want quality work and we want it done locally,” he said.

Reyes acknowledges that it’s a lot of work and that it places a lot of pressure on both staff and students as they work to get ready for the construction, the move and all the chaos that will be going on around them for the next two years.

“This is six years in anticipation for us,” Reyes said. “And the excitement of what McKinley is going to become is carrying us through.”

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