Construction starts on Red Rock school upgrade

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Courtesy photoSchool Board members Craig Janett and Michael Noftle, pictured left, District Superintendent Roger Trail, second from the right, and Red Rock Principal David Andra kick off demolition at Red Rock Elementary School Monday. Construction of the school is expected to end fall, 2019.

The Royal School District marked the beginning of construction on Monday for the Red Rock Elementary modernization project with a special groundbreaking event. District and school administrators donned bright-yellow safety-jackets and hard hats, lifting sledgehammers, and smashing drywall.

In January 2017, when a set of pipes froze and burst in the ceiling of Red Rock Elementary School and hundreds of thousands of gallons of water flooded through halls and corridors, school officials had to decide whether to spend money patching up the damage or to scrap everything and rebuild the whole school.

At first, it appeared the district was going to try to patch everything up as soon as possible in order to put kids back in classrooms. But when they crunched the numbers, they realized it made sense to rebuild, renting portables as a stopgap for students in the meantime.

“We’re tearing it down to the studs,” said Roger Trail, superintendent of the Royal School District.

Insurance money that came in after the flooding, along with matching money from the state and from existing construction funds, enabled the district to rebuild the elementary school without having to ask the community to approve a new bond, Trail said.

With the choice to rebuild comes modernized classrooms, offices and security. Among planned improvements is a make-over for the school’s entrance, including electronically locked front doors that can be controlled by a secretary monitoring the door during the school day. The school gymnasium floor will be torn out and replaced, classrooms will be renovated, and, importantly, the school will sport fixed pipes.

Building codes and regulations have changed significantly since Red Rock Elementary School was originally built nearly three decades ago, and the modernization project will bring codes up to date in rebuilt sections.

Construction is expected to end in the fall of 2019.

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