Building Upgrades Near Completion for St. Joseph Schools

Building Upgrades Near Completion for St. Joseph Schools

Mark Twain and Bessie Ellison elementary schools will have air conditioning for the upcoming school year.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) With the start of school only a month away, workers are quickly getting buildings ready for the upcoming year.  Mark Twain and Bessie Ellison elementary schools are currently getting some cool additions.

"We are air conditioning those this summer and they should be ready to go by the start of school.  We're doing some re-roofing at six different schools," said St. Joseph School District architect Tad Hopkins.

The re-roofing occurs every year to keep schools in shape.  Also, new asphalt is usually put down on playgrounds and parking lots.

"When school's out we do as many of them as we can.  And that's just on a continuing basis.  We have a rotation where we just keep that going," said Hopkins.

The air conditioning project has spanned over the past several years, with only a certain number of schools being completed each summer.

"This has been an ongoing project yearly to wrap up every grade school in town.  And it's been something that's been voted on and passed," said Patrick Wertin of St. Joseph Plumbing & Heating.

There are benefits to being involved with a project for that long that go further than just continued employment. 

"Mainly local contractors have been on it and that's a plus.  Keep the money in town.  That's mainly the biggest thing we like to see," said Wertin.

While preparations should conclude within the next month, it's been a costly process.

"The air conditioning jobs are, besides the two new schools, are the biggest ones this summer.  It's a total of about $1.8 million for the two schools," said Hopkins.

But everything is being done to wrap up in a timely manner and finish before school starts.

"We are using a system that is good for retrofitting existing buildings, so that helps a lot.  Less tearing up than there could be.  And we're about two thirds of the way done with about two thirds of the time gone, so we're about on schedule," said Hopkins.

In addition to the current projects, Lafayette high school's field house is being renovated and should be ready by football season.

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