Remodeled Robinson to be finished May 1

Garrhett McBride of North American Mechanical Inc. hangs duct work at Robinson Elementary School on Wednesday. The school's new addition is slated for completion by May 1. Then Phase II will begin, an extensive remodeling of existing space and parking lot expansion.

Garrhett McBride of North American Mechanical Inc. hangs duct work at Robinson Elementary School on Wednesday. The school’s new addition is slated for completion by May 1. Then Phase II will begin, an extensive remodeling of existing space and parking lot expansion.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 4:00 pm

By Hillary Gavan hgavan@beloitdailynews.com

Robinson Elementary School, 1801 Cranston Road, Beloit, will seem like a completely new school once its renovations and new addition is complete.

Corporate Contractors Inc. (CCI) Project Superintendent Timothy Bonk said Robinson will be completely transformed on a relatively small budget. The 25,500-square-foot addition coupled with a new parking lot, extensive interior remodeling of existing space and new parking lot will give the school a completely new look and feel for students and staff.

“I’m really looking forward for more space for teachers to collaborate,” said Principal Sam Carter.

Ground broke Sept. 28 on the construction project at Robinson. The construction is being funded by the $70 million referendum passed by voters last April. The money will fund a total of nine projects, including building a new intermediate school. The cost for Robinson’s addition and upgrades is $5.6 million.

Bonk said Phase I of the project will be completed by May 1, with interior renovations and the expanded parking lot to be complete before school starts in the fall of 2013.

The shell for the new structure is up and the mechanical components are roughed in.

Phase II includes interior renovations such as sprinkler system installation. Because of the addition of the sprinkler system, about three-fourths of the suspended ceilings will be replaced. Six walls will be removed in the existing structure to increase classroom size. The space also will receive new flooring and paint, with many hues of Navy and gold, the school’s colors.

The main entrance of the building will be at the east side parking lot, which is scheduled to be worked on this summer as part of Phase II of the project. The parking lot on the east side will almost double in size and will include a parent drop-off area accessible from Cranston Road to increase safety.

Bonk noted that landscaping, islands and light poles will be added to the parking lot to give the school a beautiful exterior.

After construction is completed next fall Robinson will become a pre-K through third grade school with a capacity for 468 students. The school would offer six tracks, meaning there would be six classrooms per grade level.

New construction is being done north toward the playground. It includes a 6,000-square-foot multipurpose room, four third grade classrooms, restrooms, kitchen serving area, special education room, office, storage rooms and more.

In a tour on Wednesday, Bonk said the new double classrooms will be 1,500-square-feet. Currently, the largest classroom at Robinson is only 900-square-feet. The new gymnasium will be three times the size of the old gym, with the ability to hold gym classes while serving lunch by splitting up the space with a curtain.

Carter said there are many opportunities to open up the new gymnasium to community groups on nights and on weekends.

Back in October, Robinson had to temporarily close after cracks formed in the school’s back gymnasium wall as the school was undergoing construction. The school was safely evacuated and no one was injured. Bonk noted on Wednesday that a new wall was constructed which resulted in some additional amenities for the school such as additional windows.

The school currently does not have a music and art room, but will have them by next fall thanks to the expansion. The renovations offer the school a larger library and computer lab for students as well.

Carter said the current building has a lack of space for teachers to collaborate and student interventions to take place. Currently interventions take place in hallways. He said the newly constructed classrooms would be larger and allow more space for students.

Robinson first opened in 1955 with an addition in 1962.

Bonk said the mild start to the winter was a great help. With 40 percent of the project involving masonry work, crews were able to get a lot done right away and little money had to be spent on tenting and warming the structure during construction.