Fifth- and sixth-graders and special program students at Stearns Elementary School started classes this fall in the district’s newest building, an 11,000-square-foot addition on their school campus.
The stand-alone building next to the school’s playground has a wide, brightly lit hallway, reflective windows, painted concrete floors, and the latest classroom technology.
“This gives us more space, and provides a sense of community and a cooperative learning environment for our older students,” said Beth Clark, principal of Stearns Elementary School.
The nearly $2-million project features eight classrooms that replace three older modular units. Fifth and sixth grades are in four of the classrooms. The other four classrooms house the district’s special programs, including communications and alternative education.
“We’re picking up more square footage and classroom space in a more energy efficient building,” said Dennis Zullo, maintenance and project supervisor for the Klamath County School District. “The modulars were old and outdated and they were ready to go. They’ve served their purpose.”
Most of the work was done in-house by the district’s maintenance and construction crew. The 12-member team headed by Zullo includes plumbers, electricians, carpenters, concrete finishers and HVAC technicians.
“We’re able to do a lot of in-house projects and save our taxpayers money,” Zullo said, adding the district saved more than a half a million dollars on the Stearns project by using its own crew.
The Stearns project is the third classroom addition completed since the school board approved a $4.1 million, 20-year debt issuance in December 2016. The first was a six-classroom building constructed at Peterson Elementary. It opened to students in September 2018. Henley Middle School’s four-classroom addition was completed in September 2019.
The addition of new classroom space allows the district to accommodate expanding enrollment and provide state-of-the art learning environments and educational programs.
Finishing the Stearns Elementary School classroom building was just one of more than a dozen projects the district’s maintenance crew took on this summer. Next up is a six-classroom addition at Shasta Elementary School. That project should start sometime in October and is expected to be ready for students in the fall 2022.