School construction projects are underway.

Since the $85.6 million bond issue passed in June, 2016, the community has witnessed multiple construction projects blossom into functional storm protected areas for the USD 443 schools. Since the bond passed, renovations and additions to Linn, Beeson and Wilroads Gardens Elementary have been completed.

“We basically added storm protected areas and they analyzed at a building level what they needed,” said Hammond. “We’re putting music rooms in (Linn and Beeson) and a special education room in each of them. We’re adding some staff bathrooms and things like that.”

Wilroads Gardens received a new kitchen and a new cafeteria.

After those three projects finished, newer construction sites popped up at Miler Elementary, Northwest Elementary, Sunnyside Elementary, Soule Elementary and Dodge City High School.

Miller Elementary will receive a new gym and storm protected cafeteria.

“Miller is where we had a ‘gym-cafeteria,’ where we were using the gym also to feed kids at,” said Hammond. “The problem is as you get larger as a school, you really don’t have enough time. It’s hard to serve the breakfast, get it cleaned up and have enough time for P.E., then tear that out and get your lunchroom ready and then so fourth.

“When Miller’s done, it will have a new gymnasium, a new cafeteria and a new kitchen. Plus, it’s going to be a four-section school,“ noted Hammond.

Miller Elementary is estimated to be completed by early 2018.

The construction along Northwest Elementary is where additional storm protected classrooms will go. At Soule Elementary, ground work for an additional two-story building is underway. The two-story building will have storm protected classrooms on the top floor and the functions of the bottom floor have not yet been determined.

At Sunnyside Elementary, concrete footings have been placed for three additional storm-protected kindergarten classrooms. The classrooms are estimated to be finished by August, 2017.

The high school will be one of the largest factors of the bond project. The school is expected to receive a new academic wing with 27 classrooms, four career and technical education classrooms, a performing arts small theater and a fitness facility for physical education, all of which are storm protected areas.

“We were given directions that the school wanted the addition to the fine arts facility first, so that’s where we’re starting on,” said Hammond.

The additional facilities at the high school are estimated to be finished by the 2018-2019 school year.

Projects in the future include renovations and additions to Dodge City Middle and Central Elementary.

Hammond explained that many people were involved in the planning and execution of this project.

“There’s a lot of players in this, and I think that’s one thing people don’t understand,” Hammond stated. “You take our average project we’re doing, we have an architect, we’ll have a structural engineer, we will have an electrical engineer, we will have a civil engineer and that’s before you get to contractors or anybody else.”

Hammond then expressed gratitude towards his staff and affiliates.

“We’re very grateful for the price, we’re very grateful for the team between Tom Montgomery at GLMV and Ryan Rowley of Hutton Construction, I’m grateful for my own staff Chris Meyer, James Trombley,” said Hammond. “At this time the projects are pretty much on schedule and on budget and we’re very grateful.”