Travelers passing by Monticello High School and the district’s bus garage on Forestburgh Road have undoubtedly noticed a flurry of construction underway since June. It’s all part of the major renovations scheduled for Task 2 of the Classroom 2020 project, and by the time it’s completed, the drive down Forestburgh Road will look decidedly different and the 100/200 wing of the high school, unrecognizable.
After the abatement was completed in mid-August, Chris Ladanyi of Clark Patterson Lee architectural firm led district representatives through the now hollowed-out hallways and classrooms in the high school, pointing out how the new spaces will look and function once the work is finished. Aging HVAC systems will be replaced with rooftop air conditioning units. An increase in natural lighting through will transform dark and cramped classrooms and hallways into brighter, open spaces. The classrooms, originally built in the 1960’s, will be transformed into collaborative, flexible, spaces suitable for educating students in the 2020s and beyond. The science classrooms will lead to an outdoor learning space, complete with amphitheater seating.
By the time Task 2 is expected to be complete in September 2021, 58% of the high school’s classroom space will have seen renovations, and the bus garage will be replaced with a new transportation center. The project will maximize the amount of instructional space and replace aged boilers, lighting and control systems with energy-efficient models – cost-savings strategies that increase state building aid eligibility, while decreasing energy costs.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Evans, viewing the spaces for the first time since assuming his role in July, called the project’s progress, which is both on time and under budget, “impressive.”
“These will be very special learning spaces, with refreshing areas for learning and meeting, for years to come,” he said. “I extremely grateful to the public for allowing us to make these transformations.”
Residents authorized the Classroom 2020 capital improvement project in November of 2018 to address some of the necessary structural repairs at all five school buildings. Capital improvement projects enable school districts to utilize capital bonds and state aid to finance facilities work outside the scope of general maintenance. These projects are subject to a complex set of state laws and regulations. Once a proposed capital improvement project is approved by voters, the funds can only be used for the capital work outlined in the proposal and can not be used for any other purpose. Because the district was able to replace an expiring bond with the Classroom 2020 bond, these projects are being completed with no impact to the tax levy.
Task 3 of the Classroom 2020 project will be the construction of tennis courts at the high school, partially financed by a capital bond approved by voters in the 2014-15 school year. The courts will be located in the triangle between the high school’s gymnasium entrance and Breaky Avenue. Task 3A will address the remaining elementary school repairs and Task 4 will address the remaining high school and middle school repairs. Task 1, the roofing repair at the elementary and middle schools, is complete.