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Byron primary school ‘on time and on budget’

From left, Byron School Superintendent Jeff Elstad; school board members Tessa Olive, Chris Douglas, and Faith Hollasch; and Director of Business Operations Jennifer Walsh tour the new primary school. The new building is west of the current elementary school off Tenth Avenue and is scheduled for occupancy this fall.

BYRON – School board members met at the construction site for Byron's new primary school on Monday and member Faith Hollasch asked Keane McWaters from Knudson Construction, "Are we on time and on budget?"

"Yes!" was his answer to both questions, and the tour started on that high note.

The school is two stories tall and filled with natural light. It is being built with state-of-the-art heating, cooling, insulation, and, of course, security, McWaters said.

The west wall of the school commons is floor-to-ceiling windows. Through these, students will be able to see a metal sculpture of three bear cubs in a tree crafted by Ken Nyberg.

Nyberg is the metal art sculptor who created the two-ton bear guarding the entrance to the high school. Nyberg uses recycled lawn mower blades to craft his works of art.


The building will house kindergarteners and first- and second-graders.

Students and teachers will begin using the building when classes start after Labor Day, said Superintendent Jeff Elstad.

The elementary school next door will accommodate third- through fifth-graders and the now over-crowded middle school will educate sixth- through eighth-graders.

Architect Paul Youngquist designed the building.

Almost exactly two years ago — March 11, 2014 — voters in Byron and the six surrounding townships in the district approved a $25 million bond issue to build the school. About $400,000 of those funds will be used to remodel parts of the elementary school.

After the tour, board members met for a workshop and then their regular meeting. They discussed the need to upgrade the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the middle school, parts of which were installed in 1967.

They also talked about adding one bus route to the school's transportation system and expanding the "walk zones," for elementary, middle school and high school students. The size of these areas will be voted on during the next meeting at 6 p.m., April 18 at the district offices in the high school building.

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