Gym wing of Peoria High School in progress. Photo By Wes Schmidgall.
PEORIA —After two months of construction, the new gymnasium and science wings that are being built onto Peoria High School are starting to take shape.
The construction of the gymnasium wing that is being built on the northern edge of Peoria High School, 1615 N. North St., Peoria, and the two-story science wing that is being built on the southern edge of the school is about 40 percent complete.
The gymnasium and science wings are part of an $18.7 million project that also includes the installation of a new heating and cooling system, new restrooms and the renovation of the existing science wing.
Construction crews laid the foundation for the new additions in November and December. Crews will work on the interiors of the additions throughout the winter.
Once completed, the new science wing will include nine new science labs, an elevator, public restrooms and a greenhouse that will enable the school to re-introduce horticulture to its curriculum. Life science, chemistry and physics classes will be held in the nine science labs.
The new science wing will also include Wi-Fi technology and several Smart Boards.
“They will have computer access as well as integral components of good science labs, such as fume hoods, etc.,” said Peoria School District 150 Public Relations Director Chris Coplan.
The old science wing will be gutted, remodeled and turned into regular classrooms.
“Old flooring, plumbing, science equipment and cabinets will be removed and the rooms will be remodeled into regular classrooms,” said Coplan. “The science classrooms at Peoria High were very outdated.”
The new gymnasium wing will include a gymnasium as well as locker rooms for physical education classes.
“The new gym will be used for practices and even some games,” said Coplan. “The current second gym was basically a practice facility and has no room for seating, therefore, couldn’t facilitate games. Currently, plans call for that gym to remain and be used for a third gym, for both P.E. and athletic practices.”
Construction crews have already removed the boilers in the school’s basement and installed heat pumps. They will install an air conditioning system in the spring.
“Heat pumps were installed in the fall,” said Coplan. “The units are now built into the corner of every classroom. This spring, contractors will work to connect the outdoor cooling units to the classroom installations, which will provide air conditioning to the building for the first time. Previously, only the library and a couple of rooms had any air conditioning, via window units.”
The $18.7 million renovation project is about 60 percent complete, said Kayse Doering, project manager for the Farnsworth Group, architects on the project.
Completion of the project is scheduled for Aug. 1, in time for the start of the 2013-2014 school year, said Coplan.
The project is part of the district-wide rebuilding and renovations that Peoria School District 150 started about five years ago. It is being financed with funds from a $40 million grant that the State Capitol Development Board awarded Peoria School District 150 to fund various projects throughout the district.