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By Devin Rose
Construction kicked off this month at Roosevelt Middle School, where contractors are relocating the main office, replacing dead space with classrooms, adding life safety elements and removing outside panels — all before students return to school in early September.
To improve the façade of the north parking lot at the school, 7560 Oak Ave., the orange panels and windows are being removed and the outside will be replaced with brick, said Anthony Cozzi, director of finance and facilities for District 90.
The contractor, Happ Builders, is also relocating the main office to the front of the school. The classroom that will soon be the office has been demolished, and the former office will become a classroom, Cozzi said. The nurse's office will also move to the front of the building.
Space was discovered above a first-floor area where a stage used to be, and classrooms will go there once steel beams are put in. A galley off the new north gym has already been excavated and prepared for beams as well. It was abated during spring break, Cozzi said. In the southeast corner of the school, a band office is switching rooms with special education. Both rooms have been demolished, but since both had lead paint, abatement is being performed to get rid of it. The second-floor Library Learning Center has also been demolished and more fire extinguishers were put in as a life safety measure.
Cozzi said work is on schedule so far and is expected to be completed by Aug. 24. Teachers will return to school Sept. 4, and students arrive Sept. 7.
Since the school's main parking lot is the "staging area" for trucks and construction materials, a separate project to improve the building's exterior will not happen at the same time, Cozzi said. That project will improve elements like lighting and signage and will create a better balance between vehicle and bike parking and traffic circulation, according to plans presented to the school board last month.
Cozzi said the Exterior Design Committee will present an updated plan at the board meeting on June 18 with three cost-estimate scenarios.