9/25/2013 12:44:00 PM St. Joseph's School facilities updated
When students returned to their classes at St. Joseph School in Rice Lake, they came back to changes. From storage to classroom renovations, the school has been revamped and an open house was recently held to allow the community to view the changes. The first school on the property was built in 1890. It was staffed by Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity of the Holy Family, Alverno. The four sisters lived in the school basement until living quarters for them were made upstairs. The first graduation took place in 1902. The school now there was started in 1951 and built at a cost of $425,000. The dedication took place Oct. 29, 1952. Jill Bennett, principal of the school, said, "The 60-year old building had been starting to really show its age, but due to wonderful anonymous private benefactors, many projects were made possible this summer." She said that 2 years ago the new heating system and new external doors were installed. "Last year, lockers were painted and rest room redone," Bennett said. "This year we also put on new doors and trim on every single gym door and classroom door throughout the building."
Kitchen and gym Last year ceiling fans were installed in the gymnasium for air circulation. The old asphalt tile in the gymnasium was replaced with maple flooring. "We did some serious studying of pros and cons of different surfaces including polyurethane sports floors, sheet vinyl and rubber," said John Cragg of the St. Joseph School Building and Grounds Committee. Wood was chosen as the new floor because of its shock absorption and durability. "Interestingly enough, according to school records, when the original bids were opened to build the school, the decision was made to eliminate the original plan for a maple gym floor to save about $6,000," said Bennett. "So the desire was always to have maple floors but it wasn't until the private benefactors stepped forward with their donations that this dream was able to come to fruition." The new gym floor was built up and over the existing floor. "The maple floors are extremely high quality and estimated to last about 100 years if properly taken care of," said Cragg. Basketball hoops were adjusted to be regulation standards for middle-schoolers. The backboards were painted and new nets installed. To preserve the integrity of the new gym floors, tables for lunch time are only on the north side of the gym. "We are making diligent efforts to never roll things across the floor and all things that are brought into the gym need to have rubber tipped bottoms," said Bennett. The kitchen was completely gutted. New glassboard wall and windows were installed on the north side. And a wall was knocked out to add more storage. The kitchen floor was replaced along with the dishwasher, freezer, ovens and garbage disposal. "All the wooden cupboards were removed and the kitchen is now all stainless steel," said Bennett. "All areas of the kitchen were brought up to today's' standards in code." Bennett said that due to the previous lack of storage space, tables, chairs and other large items were previously stored on the south wall of the gym. "This was a safety issue and took up a lot of space that students could have used," she said. "The storage unit now eliminates those issues." Because the gym is also used for performances, aspects of the stage needed a facelift. "The previous curtains we had were ones that Rice Lake High School got rid of many years ago," Bennett said. "After 60 years of age, they were beginning to rip and were losing their functionality. We replaced them with new stage curtains." The locker rooms are a work in progress; however, old windows were drywalled over. Stalls, walls and ceilings were painted. And new flooring was installed. "The effect is a much brighter, comfortable place for young athletes to change into their gear before an athletic event," said Bennett. And over the past summer months, the 1952 bleachers were removed from the gym. "The new ones are state-of-the-art bleachers with aisles to walk up and safety railings," said Bennett. The bleachers are made of steel and aluminum with plastic seating. And they are remote controlled.
Brighter classrooms Lockers and walls were painted along with every classroom getting spruced up with paint and more. The upstairs flooring in the hallway was also replaced and many windows were replaced. New interior doors were installed. A wall on the south side of the building was removed and replace with a new one that contains high quality insulation. Cragg said that about 120,000 pounds of "stuff" were removed from walls and ceilings. Each classroom had new ceilings put in and at least one long slate board from each was removed to make way for new whiteboards. "And each classroom has Smart Boards as a result of special focus item donations at the Black and Gold Gala in 2009," said Bennett. Funds from the Gala of 2012 was responsible for the purchase of ergonomically correct computer table and chairs for students in the computer lab. Bennett said that the needs of each individual student can be met by simple adjustments. "We had a lot of physical and emotional support from our parish members, alumni and community members at large that made all of this come together," said Bennett. "Our school renovation project has definitely been a labor of love by hundreds of people."
Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013
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"...about 120,000 pounds of "stuff" were removed from walls and ceilings."
Read: asbestos. Running joke when I went to school there.