OSAGE, Iowa - KIMT has been tracking the progress of the Osage School District's "Build Our Future" project for the High School and Middle School, from the initial plans through the construction process.
This week, after 18 months of construction, those new and renovated spaces are now open. And the finished product is a sight to behold for these students and faculty.
The main entrance has been moved to the east side of the building. After walking through that entrance, you'll see a large photographic mural, featuring a collage of the many students here. Across from it, trophies the school has earned in state competitions, as well as a touchscreen monitor showcasing moments in school history, records for activities and graduating classes. Continuing to walk down the new main walkway is a larger, more efficient kitchen, as well as a larger cafeteria that also functions as a meeting space.
The high school office, as well as Superintendent Barb Schwamman's office, were relocated up to the front entrance, which has large windows in order to get a better view of who's coming in the building during the day.
"That makes me feel safer than what we were. We still have the cameras at the entrances in the middle school entrance that people could buzz in and ask them what they're here for," 8th grader Tristan Mork says.
The area that formerly housed the high school offices was renovated into three new special education rooms, and four smaller classrooms that hold science classes became two larger rooms, complete with lecture and lab capacities, as well as stadium seating and new equipment.
"I like science and probably will do a science major, so I enjoy the new science classes we have and all the facilities that have been put into them," senior Thor Maakestae adds.
Arguably the project's crown jewel is the new high school gym, complete with press boxes, bleachers and natural lighting, and will be large enough to have two full-size courts and hold up to four wrestling mats, and provide a large enough space not just for sports, but also prom, graduation ceremonies, tournaments and more.
"It's going to be so nice for if we host tournaments and stuff in our school, it's going to be way more functional for us," senior Makayla Mostek says.
Also part of the project is a new stand-alone band and choir area, with three practice rooms and offices, and can also serve as a tornado safe room.
"It's going to be great to be able to use this cafeteria and our music suite is already done. We have our new band and choir rooms, which I'm involved in the music department, so that's great for us, and our new science rooms. It's really cool to have all this new stuff and I'm able to use it," Mostek adds.
So far, it seems that the project is earning an A+ from students.
"I love how modern our new school looks. They really put a lot into this and into the architecture really thinking what would work for us and what will look really nice."
In addition, an upgraded restroom with automated flushing, sinks and hand dryers was also installed, as well as a new girls locker room.
There is still some cosmetic work, including tiling and finishing the remainder of the high school gym, that needs to be done. Schwamman hopes to have the new gym open by the start of next month.