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DL school construction projects 'on target and on budget': School board, staff tour construction sites

Detroit Lakes school officials and staff toured the Roosevelt Elementary and Detroit Lakes Middle School Construction sites early Monday morning. The tour was led by Zerr Berg lead architect Brian Berg, left, and construction site manager Jordan Vadnais of Gehrtz Construction Services. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)1 / 5
The foundation work for the classroom addition on the north side of Roosevelt Elementary School is 75-80 percent done, and the addition should be complete in time for the start of classes after the holiday break on Jan. 1. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)2 / 5
Construction workers were already on the job early Monday morning at the site of the new gymnasium addition on the south end of Rossman Elementary School. The addition is slated for completion by the time classes start up in the fall of 2020. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)3 / 5
Construction equipment had to be brought in by crane to prepare the formerly open courtyard at the center of Rossman Elementary School, which will soon be enclosed and made a part of the existing building. The rebar is in place and the concrete for the new floor will be laid soon (weather permitting). (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)4 / 5
Detroit Lakes School Board members, administrators and staff got up early Monday morning and took a tour of construction sites at Rossman Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary and Detroit Lakes Middle School with lead architect Brian Berg (second from left) and Dan Kleist of Gehrtz Construction (at right). (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)5 / 5

After a brief work session at which they finalized the agenda for next week's regular board meeting, members of the Detroit Lakes School Board, administrators and staff set off on a two-hour tour of the district's summer construction projects with lead architect Brian Berg.

What they found was that, despite some minor weather delays, renovations and additions to Rossman Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary and Detroit Lakes Middle school facilities are on target and on budget so far.

According to Berg, interior renovations to all three buildings should be complete by the start of the fall semester on Aug. 28.

"Classroom additions on the north ends of Rossman and Roosevelt are scheduled to be complete when students return from the holiday break after Jan. 1 of next year," he added.

"At this point they (contractors) are on track for that schedule," Berg said. "We will be able to fully firm that up in a couple months once we are out of the ground and enclosed on both sites."

Gymnasium additions to both sites are also slated for completion next year, though the new Rossman gym won't be ready for use until the start of classes in the fall of 2020.

Because construction of the Rossman classroom addition involved removal of the existing, portable classrooms that had been in use for more than 40 years, and they also needed a gym, some temporary space had to be found — and the National Guard Armory stepped up.

Until the additions are complete, Rossman students will be using the gymnasium and classrooms in the Armory — which is conveniently located right across the street from the school — for their music and physical education classes.

"The armory space will be used for the entire school year," Berg said.

One other change brought about by the construction at Rossman was the relocation of the playground. Because the existing playground site was part of the area slated for the gymnasium addition, the playground has been permanently relocated to the southwest corner of the site, and will thus be ready for use this fall.

Renovations and additions at Detroit Lakes High School, which will account for more than half of the $50 million overall project, are slated to begin next summer, with completion in 2021. Bids for the high school improvements will be let later this fall.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

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