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Jasper County Tribune

Under construction

Progress continues on the new Baxter school addition

Construction is well underway with exterior walls up on the new addition at the Baxter Community School District.
Construction is well underway with exterior walls up on the new addition at the Baxter Community School District.

The school year is more than half way complete and work on Baxter’s building project is well underway. With demolition a distant memory now, a lot of “behind the scenes” work is currently being completed along with the shell of the new addition.

“So far, the exterior walls are up and the roof is nearing completion,” Baxter Superintendent Mickolyn Clapper said. “There has been a lot of underground work with plumbing and electricity completed, too. We’ve done some updates to our internet and our heating and cooling systems, as well.”

With a lot of substantial work complete, the next big piece of the project to be checked off is finishing the roof. Once that is done, Clapper said, the crews can being pouring concrete inside and begin construction on the interior walls.

“It should go pretty quickly once they get the whole building enclosed,” Clapper said.

Administration and staff knew it would be a challenge to conduct classes in an always moving construction zone but the collaboration has been a positive one so far. With work progressing at a nice pace, staff and students have pushed through any inconveniences, showing flexibility to go with what is given to them.

“The biggest challenge we have faced is just the lack of space and the constant interruptions. We have people tucked everywhere in the building and there’s no room to spread out,” Clapper said. “If we need to have a meeting, we have to use a classroom or an office.”

To accommodate, board meetings are held in classrooms and parent meetings are often in Clapper’s office, relocating her to the library or another free space.

“It’s not ideal, but it works for us. We just have to keep our eyes on the big picture,” Clapper said. “Now that we can see progress everyone is getting really excited.”

Even with the challenges, Clapper is feeling really good about the project. To date, it has stayed on time and on budget for the most part, which is what district leaders are hoping for.

As spring rolls around, interior work will be finishing up and throughout the summer finishing touches will be completed with landscaping and furniture. It is set to be complete during the summer and Clapper said they are very sure it will be done and ready for the first day of school next fall.

“We can’t wait for everyone to get a chance to tour the new school and we are so excited for our students and staff to get to come to this beautiful new building everyday,” Clapper said. “It’s an exciting time in Baxter and we are so thankful for our community and all their support over the years.”

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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