New Reynolds schools starting to take shape
Despite the cold weather and rain, workers are making good progress on the three new elementary schools and high school remodel in the Reynolds School District.
"We are going to be finished on time for the opening of school in the fall," Reynolds Superintendent Linda Florence told The Outlook on a tour of Wilkes Elementary, one of the three new schools.
The new Troutdale, Fairview and Wilkes elementary schools are all being built next to the current schools and students are attending the old schools during construction.
Once the new schools are completed, the old schools will be razed and playgrounds, ball fields and parking will replace them.
All this is being paid for with money from a school bond. Voters approved the $125 million facilities bond for the Reynolds School District in May 2015.
Students also have attended Reynolds High School during the remodel and expansion of that school.
Construction is moving forward on the elementary schools, but work is farthest along at Wilkes and Fairview. Windows are going in and interior and exterior insulation has been or will soon be installed at the two new buildings.
The exterior weather barrier is called Blueskin and creates a striking appearance during construction.
The three elementary schools have been framed and the walls and most of the roofing is on the three buildings.
The single-story elementary schools are being replaced with striking two-story structures that let in lots of natural light. Younger students will be taught on the ground floor and older students on the second floor at the three new schools.
The three elementary schools "will all have 21st century HVAC systems," Florence said, which will produce big energy and cost savings and also make the classrooms more comfortable than the creaky, older systems at the current schools. The schools also will feature low-maintenance polished concrete floors.
The design for the three schools fosters team work. Four classrooms will cluster around an open commons area that the architects call a "kiva," a Native American word for "gathering place." The kiva will allow students to work in groups or allow for tutoring and other special tasks.
The three schools will also have showers for families to use which will be located near the food pantry and clothing closets. Washers and dryers also will be available.
For up-to-date information and additional photos of the Reynolds bond projects, the district has set up a web page at reynolds.k12.or.us/bondprojects.