Oltman rising: New middle school set to open in September

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School construction and renovation projects are proceeding mostly on track, District superintendent Keith Jacobus reported at the July 26 meeting of the South Washington County School Board.

These projects include:

New Oltman Middle School

Administrative will begin moving into the 192,000-square-foot building, which was built on agricultural land on the south side of 65th Street, east of Geneva Avenue and west of Wildflower Drive, near where areas of Woodbury, Newport, St. Paul Park and Cottage Grove meet.

"With the exceptions of minor finishing touches and final cleaning, construction of classrooms and common spaces has been completed," Jacobus said.

The exterior facade is complete and sod has been laid for the football field and around the school perimeter.

Security features at Oltman will include multiple surveillance cameras and shatter-resistant glass in each of three primary entrances. Visitors will be buzzed into a locked entry during school hours.

In classrooms, smart TVs will replace smart boards and LCD projectors.

"This advancement is actually less expensive," Jacobus said. "It's a nice move forward and a cost reduction."

A Camp 6 welcoming event is scheduled for sixth-grade students Aug. 21 and 22. Director of communications Shelly Schafer said a certificate of occupancy is expected to be issued for Aug. 13.

Woodbury Middle School

Construction of a 12-classroom addition is complete, Jacobus said, and furniture has been moved into place. Voice data, interactive devices, wireless access points, intercom and security cameras have been installed and are functioning.

Construction of a new kitchen and serving area, renovations to the media center and sound and light enhancements in the stage area will be complete by Aug. 17.

New Nuevas Fronteras School

The most challenging construction project is the conversion of the old Oltman Middle School to the new Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion School, Jacobus said.

"We're asking a lot in a short amount of time," he said. "We knew that going in and so did the contractors."

Phase one involves creating classroom space for the nearly 420 Nuevas Fronteras students. This entails "substantial renovation of the interior spaces and the creation of temporary administrative offices," Jacobus said.

Phase-one improvements also include construction of a new bus parking lot and the installation of a student playground. Part of the school will be demolished to make way for phase two, which is scheduled for the 2018-19 school year. It includes construction of a new kitchen and serving area, new loading dock and a new main entrance.

The final phase will take place over the summer of 2019 and will include replacement of the school's mechanical system and the roof.