Construction crews start excavating for the future middle school addition in December (Submitted Photo/The Report).

Officials project August completion

By Jason Arndt

Since the Wheatland J1 School District won approval on two referendums last April, including one for facility improvements, officials spent months creating a construction plan.

The construction plan, which started in early November, is starting to show on the exterior of Wheatland Center School.

“We are in the very early stages of construction,” said District Administrator Marty McGinley. “The projects being worked on currently are the middle school cafetorium renovation which will include 2 flexible STEM classrooms.”

McGinley said demolition on that area is complete and contractors started constructing walls this week. Crews have also started adding two additional classrooms at the back of the middle school building.

“They have dug the holes for the footings, and will be pouring exterior walls in the next week,” he said.

Additionally, the new camera system was installed to improved school security, McGinley said.

The early projects are just one part of the $8.45 million capital improvement referendum passed by voters in April 2018.

Other improvements include replacing an aging heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, classroom renovations for early childhood education, 4-year-old kindergarten and art.

The HVAC system, according to McGinley, takes up more than half the capital improvement referendum and will be upgraded once class dismisses for the summer.

Summer improvement projects include renovating the library, adding two science classrooms, reinforcing the front entrance of the school, and upgrading the parking lots.

Early planning
After the district garnered approval, district administrators, staff and teachers participated in listening sessions with Bray Architects to review and share ideas for each area targeted for improvement.

In May, school officials joined Bray Architects to tour other schools, primarily focusing on facilities with science, technology, engineering, mathematics laboratories and media centers.

“These schools are examples of state-of-the-art facilities that feature spaces very similar to those being developed for Wheatland, including STEM classrooms and labs, media centers, and academic classrooms,” states the district’s construction update page on its website.

“The District team walked away from these tours with inspiration for the desired spaces at our school and a better understanding of what to consider while planning.”

Last September, taking what they gathered from other schools, the district finalized construction and design plans.

Additionally, the district has solicited bids from four furniture vendors, one of which will be selected this month.

Scherrer Construction, of Burlington, was chosen as the construction manager for the project last fall.

McGinley reports construction could be completed by late August.

To receive progress updates on the Wheatland Center School project, visit the school’s website at

An operational referendum was the other question approved by voters in April.

The operational referendum, which allows the district to exceed revenue limits by $625,000 a year for four years, renews a current referendum that voters passed four years ago to maintain educational programming.


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