Bijou/Whittier work next in District 11 remodels

       Remodeling to make Whittier School conducive to Bijou Alternative's high school-age students is to begin by the end of the month, as District 11's multi-faceted summer slate of Westside construction activity continues.
       Already under way is the project to carve a separate elementary school into the West Middle School building. Also, a separately contracted project to turn the old West tennis courts into an elementary playground is to begin by next week. Elsewhere, design work has been finalized for additions at Howbert (four rooms) and Jackson (six rooms), with construction at both to begin by the second week of July, according to Mike Maloney of the district's facilities area.
       The goal with the Bijou School at Whittier (its full name) and at West is to have the remodeling work complete by the start of school in mid-August. However, regarding the timetable for Bijou, Maloney advised in a report to the district, “it is possible that some long-lead-time mechanical equipment may not arrive before 1 August, so some work may still be wrapping during August. We'll ensure that we schedule any work in the occupied buildings with the safety of staff and students uppermost.”
       No such issues are foreseen for the West remodel, which is still planned for completion before school starts, Maloney said.
       At Howbert and Jackson, the plan is to at least have the concrete poured for the foundations, with completion anticipated in time for the start of the second semester of school in January, Maloney said.
       The Bijou/Whittier work “primarily will involve modifying some classrooms to accommodate an increase in office space, conference area, science lab, art room and a 21st century distance learning lab along with a few minor alterations,” explained Bijou Principal Wayne Hutchison. “The playground equipment in the back will be removed and replaced with a volleyball court, and the western portion of the current playground will be converted to a student parking lot with entrance via Bijou Street.”
       However, according to Maloney and Hutchison, the newest Whittier playground, which was installed by its staff and volunteers a year ago at the front of the school, will stay where it is, with neighborhood children welcome to use it.
       Washington, Whittier and Pike elementaries closed in the reutilization, with Buena Vista's Montessori students moving to the Washington building. Its non-Montessori students, along with those from Washington and Pike, are in the attendance area of the new West Elementary. Some of the students from Whittier are also in the West attendance area, with others in Howbert's.
       In related plans, playground equipment will be relocated from Pike Elementary to West and/or Hunt elementaries
       Christiansen-Reece is the architectural firm for both the Howbert and Jackson school additions. Daniel-Barry Construction is the general contractor for Jackson, and T.N. Parker Construction is the general contractor for Howbert, Maloney said.

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