Renovation project is completed

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The kitchen and cafeteria - now known as the Commons - have been moved to the main floor. The former kitchen is now a fitness area. Pictured is Central superintendent Nick Trenkamp.

The middle and high school media center moved from the main floor to the second floor. Prior to the $6 million capital project, this part of the school didn't exist.

The $6.8 million renovation project at Central Schools, Elkader, is complete.

Central Superintendent Nick Trenkamp did a final walk-through with contractors last week noting some minor cosmetic work that needed to be addressed. The really “big stuff,” however—like the new middle/high school media center, science classroom, fitness area, commons and other spaces—have been finished for some time.

“We haven’t seen much of a crew in here for a while,” said Trenkamp. “It’s been a long, exhausting process—and I can’t say enough about how the staff and students dealt with the reality of the construction work—but everyone is in agreement that the end results are worth it.”

And it’s not just students and staff who are impressed with the results. Trenkamp has heard from parents, Central alumni and visitors. An open house in late September drew a large crowd and many took time at the end of the tour to share their favorable impressions.

Work on the project began in late 2017. The overall plan addressed several infrastructure concerns and inaccessibility issues. One important improvement was the addition of the building’s first-ever elevator.

“We had a couple of girls who needed an elevator following surgery,” Trenkamp said. “I received emails from their parents saying how please they were that their students could move from one area to the next safely and conveniently. We also get a number of elderly visitors like grandparents who attend programs or those who came to last week’s Veterans Day program. The availability of an elevator makes it so much nicer for them.”

The elevator and secure entrances are two features that Trenkamp admits aren’t “super glamorous but absolutely necessary.”

“It’s about making our school more welcoming and accessible while proving the safest. Best possible learning environment for our students,” he added.

The renovation project was the first capital improvements project to Central in more than 40 years.

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