Construction starts in Lake City

Body: 

LAKE CITY — A chain link fence can be seen wrapped around most of Bluff View Elementary, as the school is about to undergo massive construction.

The construction comes from the $12 million referendum bond passed on Nov. 7, 2017, and began on June 1.

The Lake City School District Superintendent Erick Enger said expanding pre-kindergarten offerings was the driving force behind the construction when discussions began in 2015.

Bluff View will have five additional classrooms on the backside of the school that are designated for kindergarten. Enger said the classrooms will have foldable walls, with an emphasis on having a more open environment.

Another major component is the addition of a new cafeteria, which will be located near the new kindergarten classrooms.

Originally, the cafeteria was placed in the center of the school. Enger said the cafeteria was used for multiple events, including Tiger Time, a day care offered by the school. Tiger Time is not a free program.

Tiger Time will stay where it's at in the center of the school, but will also have room to expand and have more offerings, according to Enger.

Enger said where the cafeteria is currently located, there was no natural light. Even worse, if students who rarely moved around the school, might not have seen natural light until they left school.

"Literally some of our students could be in that building, and if it's not a day where we can let me outside ... they'll literally never see the light of day," Enger said.

The new cafeteria will have tall windows and more space.

While Bluff View already has two gyms in the school, there will be an additional multi-purpose gym added with a stage.

Enger said he received many questions about why the school needed another gym. Enger said the multi-purpose gym will be easier to have school functions. Previously, the cafeteria had a stage rolled in and the seating arrangement made it difficult for people to see the action.

"Now we have bleachers and elevated, so now you can actually see your kid," Enger said.

Bluff View has students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

Enger said across the district the enrollment numbers are stable, but having these additions and more offerings will keep the school competitive in the future.

"Every kid at Bluff View is going to enjoy the cafeteria ... and every kid is going to enjoy the gym and the stage," Enger said. "So the bulk of the project is going to be enjoyed by every student in there."

Bluff View also will improved front-entrance security, more restrooms, an upgraded the kitchen and revised bus drop-off and parking areas.

Enger said the additions won't be ready to be used by the 2018-2019 school year. This summer, the construction will establish the outside additions onto Bluff View. The 2019-2020 school year the school will be finished.

"By the time we get rolling ... it'll go pretty quick," Enger said on the school's construction timeline.