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Summer school work ahead in Sterling

Challand, high school will see upgrades

STERLING – While the students are away, the construction workers will play ... er ... work.

The Sterling Public Schools have several building and grounds projects planned for the summer, despite deep budget cuts.

The district is wrapping up the second year of a 3-year budget-reduction plan. The district cut more than $750,000 last year and cut more than $1 million this year.

But none of the projects slated for this summer will tap into new district funds, Superintendent Tad Everett said.

All of the projects will be covered by Health/Life Safety funds, for which the district bonded out about 3 years ago; Sterling Schools Foundation funds, or private donations, he said.

Two projects are slated for Challand Middle School.

• The windows on the north and east sides of the building will be replaced. They are original to the 50-plus-year-old school.

The new windows will be double-paned and insulated and will not open. They are more energy efficient and will work in concert with the geothermal system at the school, Everett said.

The project will be paid for with existing Health/Life Safety funds, Everett said.

Work will begin Tuesday and finish by Aug. 2.

• The parking lot on the north side of the building and the student activity area on the east side of the building will be upgraded.

The pavement will be replaced. The parking lot will be expanded by about 30 stalls, islands will be installed to improve traffic flow and energy-efficient, LED lighting will be added to improve safety and security, Everett said.

The parking lot, although considered a staff lot, is one of the main pick-up and drop-off sites at the school, he said.

The project will be paid for with a combination of existing Health/Life Safety funds and private donor money, Everett said.

Work will begin Tuesday and finish by July 19.

Three projects are planned at Sterling High School.

• The cafeteria will be upgraded and expanded.

The flooring and ceiling will be replaced and space will be added. A new service line and some new equipment also will be added, Everett said.

The expansion will allow the high school to move from three lunch periods to two and make more time for enrichment and interventions, he said.

The project will be paid for with a combination of existing Health/Life Safety funds and private donor money, Everett said.

Work will begin Tuesday and finish by Aug. 9.

• The roof on Centennial Auditorium will be replaced. It is original to the 15-year-old auditorium and is out of warranty and dilapidated.

The project will be paid for by the Sterling Schools Foundation and with private donor money, Everett said.

Work will begin June 3 and finish by July 19.

• A U.S. Cellular cellphone tower and flagpole will be installed at the south end of Roscoe Eades Stadium.

The ticket booth will be replaced, and the small structure also will serve as a utility room for the tower. The 120-foot-tall tower will fly a large American flag, Everett said.

The district is leasing the small plot of land to U.S. Cellular for 30 years, and the district will receive about $1,500 a month in rent, which it will use for stadium and field maintenance, he said. The project will not cost the district a dime, he added.

Work will begin June 1.

Another project might come up this summer: Fifth Avenue, from Miller Road to LeFevre Road, could be repaved.

The district planned to replace crumbling sidewalks, curbs and gutters, but the city of Sterling wants to replace the potholed street, too, Everett said.

The district and the city are working together to come up with a plan for the street and a way to share the cost of the project, he said.

The district would have to tap into its own funds to cover its share of the project, Everett said.

The scope and timeline of the project remain unknown.

Building projects elsewhere

Building projects slated for other school districts in the area include:

Dixon School District: Replacing windows, updating lighting, and installing rooftop heating and cooling units at Reagan Middle School; renovating bathrooms at the middle and high schools; repairing the blacktop on the playground at Washington Elementary School; and replacing windows at the district office.

East Coloma School: Repairing the roof and parking lot.

Chadwick-Milledgeville School District: Resurfacing the track.

Rock Falls High School: Upgrading the security system; replacing the first-floor handicapped chairlift; replace shelving in the library; replacing the first-floor lockers; remodeling teachers lounge restrooms; refinishing the gymnasium floor; and building a storage garage, which will house the driver's education car.

Montmorency School: Replacing windows and installing four rooftop heating and cooling units.

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