Roosevelt Elementary School is almost unrecognizable inside after all the recent remodeling projects and new additions.
New classrooms have been added and the rest have been shuffled around, an impressive new commons and kitchen area have been built on the upper level, and large swaths of the lower level have been completely redone, transformed into music rooms, a collaborative area, a new front office and more.
The changes are apparent before a person even gets through the door. The exterior of the main entrance has been updated, with additional windows and a more modern design style that complements the adjoining middle school.
As part of that redesign, Roosevelt's main office has been relocated to the very front of the building. This is a security upgrade, as it allows visitors to check in at the reception area before going further into the school. The ample windows in the office also improve safety, making it possible for staff to easily see who’s coming into the building.
- See our photo tour of Rossman Elementary HERE.
- See our photo tour of Detroit Lakes High School HERE.
- Watch this website for the upcoming fourth and final photo tour, of Detroit Lakes Middle School.
The windows also enhance the atmosphere, letting in natural light and making the space feel bigger and brighter. Sean Vadnais of Gehrtz Construction said incorporating more natural light throughout the school, and upgrading all the artificial lighting to LED, was a big part of the remodeling projects at both Roosevelt and the middle school. Vadnais is the construction manager for both.
The new commons on Roosevelt’s upper level is a prime example. The large, open room features a long wall of windows, making this sunny space a central design feature and highlight of the school. An entryway off the commons is where school buses load and unload.
“It has a nice feel to it -- bright and open,” said Vadnais.
A new kitchen, with a few new pieces of equipment, is right next to the commons. A loading door in the back means deliveries can be made right there, instead of having to go through the middle school as they did before.
Also on the upper level are new and remodeled classrooms. A wing for kindergarten features a wide corridor that connects the classrooms and doubles as a collaborative area when different classes want to work together. Each classroom has its own bathroom as well as built-in cubbies for kids’ belongings. The first grade wing is very similar, minus the individual bathrooms.
Vadnais said nine new classrooms were added to the upper level, making room for one of the most-anticipated aspects of the project at Roosevelt -- a new fifth grade wing. Fifth graders were moved up into the middle school a number of years ago, after Roosevelt ran out of room to house them, and school staff have said that they, as well as parents, are looking forward to having that grade back at the elementary school. The new fifth grade wing is on the lower level and features a central collaborative area similar to the kindergarten and first grade wings.
Another collaborative space, available to all grades and students, has been created on the lower level, in a portion of the former commons and kitchen area. This large area has been remodeled to also include a band room, two general music rooms, break-out rooms and more.
The “open air” space that used to hang above the former commons area has been filled in, and is now home to three smaller-sized meeting rooms with sliding glass doors -- one of Vadnais’s favorite design features.
A new staff lounge, new special education rooms, improved teacher work rooms and meeting rooms, new administrative offices, a computer-lab-turned-“maker lab” and new storage spaces were also worked into the project. Mechanical upgrades were completed, too, Vadnais said, such as a new heating and cooling system.
The final phase of the project, a new gymnasium, is slated to be done by next summer. Construction on this addition is well underway; when it's finished, Roosevelt will have two gyms.
Overall, Vadnais said of the project, “I think it’ll be a great addition and improvement for the school district.”