Originally Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2012, 9:05 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 12, 2012, 11:55 pm

Renovation on schedule at George O. Barr School in Silvis

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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

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Photo: Todd Welvaert
George O. Barr principal Michael Hughes tours construction work being done at the Silvis school Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.

Renovation of George O. Barr School in Silvis is on schedule, with students expected to begin moving into upgraded classrooms by March, principal Michael Hughes said.

After junior high students were moved last summer to the Silvis school district's new Northeast Junior High School at 4280 4th Ave., East Moline, remodeling for elementary students began on the former junior high sections of Barr at 1305 5th Ave., Silvis The south and west sections of the elementary area will be demolished.

Renovations include cabinets and lighting updates, expanded wireless Internet service and smart boards, a new kitchen and air conditioning, and a new roof.

"It's going to be much more comfortable, especially for our students," Mr. Hughes said. George O. Barr has about 400 students.

At a recent tour, the site was still rough around the edges with bare walls and open ceilings where duct work was being installed. But Mr. Hughes noted what was coming, including a more secure main entrance.

The new main entry, a former exit into the courtyard and play area, has two sets of doors that open onto a hall. The first rooms are designated for administrators.

"Probably the biggest change you are going to see is right here," Mr. Hughes said.

The new roof is finished and workers recently installed a hood for the stove in the upgraded cafeteria. Major work is expected to be done in December, with finishing touches completed in January.

Demolition of the old sections is expected to start after the students move in March, Mr. Hughes said. A final phase with outside green space and parking should be done by August, he said.

When completed, the $6.5 million project will have renovated 55,000 to 60,000 square feet and demolished 53,000 square feet.

Work on the new $13.7 million, 52,000-square-foot junior high began in early 2011 and was finished earlier this year. Classes started in August with about 200 students and 14 teachers.

Northeast has nine classrooms, administrative offices, a library, cafeteria, band room, a 450-seat gymnasium and a large group area for projects with several smaller project rooms.A partition can be moved to open the band room to the gym to create a "band shell."

The library has been designed with an open layout, similar to a bookstore.

District superintendent Ray Bergles said a state grant is funding 75 percent of the Northeast and Barr projects, with the district assuming the rest.