Construction crews have broken ground on the new Longfellow Elementary, meaning three of the four building projects associated with Rochester Public Schools’ 2019 voter-approved referendum are underway.
Keane McWaters of Knutson Construction recently gave the Rochester School Board an update on the status of the three projects.
“Almost all the referendum projects are under construction now,” McWaters said.
Longfellow, located in Southeast Rochester on Marion Road, is one of the two building projects that is a reconstruction of an existing school. The other is Bishop Elementary, west of West Circle Drive.
Unlike Bishop Elementary, however, the new Longfellow Elementary is being constructed in a nearby but different location. During the referendum process, the school district exchanged land with the city of Rochester and the new school will be built just a bit down the road.
Crews broke ground April 12, so the project is still in the very early stages of progress. McWaters said the footings and foundation will be poured in mid-May. They will be precasting the building in mid-June and early July. Until then, however, they are undertaking plenty of groundwork.
"Over the next month, we'll pretty much be doing mass grading; doing a soil correction underneith the building so that the soil can support the building," McWaters said.
Overland Elementary School is the farthest along of the three projects. The building is up and standing. The school is on Overland Drive, just across U.S. 52 from 65th Street Northwest where the new Middle School is underway.
McWaters said that over the next six weeks, construction crews will be installing flooring in the classrooms and pouring asphalt for the parking lots.
“If you’ve driven by, most of the windows are in. There’s just a couple locations where we have to finish up a few things,” he said. “As you drive by, you’ll start to see the exterior of the building take finished form.”
New Middle School
The new middle school is the only one of the new buildings that does not yet have a name. It is located near the intersection of 55th Avenue Northwest and 65th Street, on the far north side of Rochester. The location of the new building is, in fact, closer to the Byron Middle School than it is to one of Rochester’s other middle schools, Willow Creek, in the southeast quadrant of the city.
The middle school is in earlier stages of construction. Large machinery is still in the process of doing ground work, while a few beams and walls show the promise of a future building.
McWaters said crews began precasting the building last week, and that it will start to take form in the near future.
“Over the next six weeks, we’re going to start to see something else happen besides site work and footings,” McWaters said. “You’ll start to really see this building take shape over the next three months.”
The reconstruction of Bishop Elementary was not part of the most recent update, but the project is expected to start in May with the demolition of the current building. Construction on the new building will begin in early June while the deconstruction is still underway, according to a schedule for the referendum projects.