Seismic-retrofitted walls, a new roof, new bleachers, a resurfaced floor and a new paint job are some of the changes students can expect at the Prairie City School gym this fall.
Prairie City Superintendent Casey Hallgarth said the construction in general at Prairie City School has been exciting, especially with the addition of new roofs for the gym and cafeteria, addressing problems with leaks.
“I’m extremely excited for the community to come see the finished product here,” Hallgarth said. “CB construction has been nothing but on top of the project and hats off to them too.”
Hallgarth said the bleachers will be a great addition since they will be safer than the previous set. The new bleachers will provide railings and handrails going up the aisles to keep people from falling.
He said the bleachers will be easier to adjust to accommodate for people and be more ADA-compliant.
“We’ve had a few people, elderly, that are in wheelchairs, and there are two sides where they can sit with our old bleachers, which is one end or the other,” Hallgath said. “Now, we have the capability to push in portions of the bottom row to where they can sit in the center.”
The walls of the gym are being seismically retrofitted by receiving carbon fiber strips with high tensile strength on both sides of the walls.
“When they do that, they have to paint the walls after finishing, so what’s great is we get to decide what colors we get to have,” Hallgarth said.
The inside of the gym will be painted with 12 feet of black going from the bottom of the floor up, then a three feet orange strip and then white the rest of the way up, including the ceiling. On the outside, the building will be painted a dark gray all around.
The agriculture teacher, Lindy Cruise, has been making a sign for the front entrance of the gym stating “Home of the Panthers” with the school’s CNC machine, which was received through the Career Technical and Education program.
The letters are being cut out of 12-gauge metal at just under 4 feet tall and about 2 feet wide, according to Hallgarth. He said the letters are going to be orange and sit off the wall a little bit so they can be backlit.
Prairie City School District was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the state’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program to fund this project.
“I wrote a seismic grant two years ago when I first got the job,” Hallgarth said. “We got it, and we partnered with ZCS engineering who helped us with the grant process.”
The project is projected to be finished in the middle of August, but Hallgarth said the team is about two and a half weeks ahead of schedule so there is a possibility the project will be completed early.
Hallgarth said they are also adding livestreaming capabilities to the gym, which they already set up at the football field. They partnered with the National Federation of State High School Assications and Pixelot Company as a pilot school to provide this option.
“We got two cameras and all the hardware that comes with it, and we can livestream all of our events at the football field, the track area and in our gym,” Hallgarth said.
This will allow Prairie City to provide streams for both sporting events and school activities such as assemblies, Christmas programs and more on the school’s new website, pcsd4.com.
“That gym is the hub for the city for a natural disaster, so safety-wise and cosmetically, it’s going to be great,” Hallgarth said.