Work nears finish on new school
Classes start in a month and employees started moving in this week, but there's still plenty of work to do at the new St. Joseph School.
Last Friday, workers were busy installing carpet on the school's upper level as others unloaded boxes of ceiling tiles. A fire alarm went off every few minutes, with a siren blaring and lights flashing, as crews tested the system.
Downstairs, the floors are still concrete. Carpet can't go in until the humidity drops, principal Tom Joseph said.
Joseph sees the work still to be done as he leads a tour of the new building. But he also sees the opportunity. The new school is significantly bigger than the building it replaces. Its library is roughly twice the size of what has been available to students. An expanded computer room can accommodate an entire class, meaning teachers will no longer have to split up their students for computer lessons. New spaces for art and science specialists will mean more flexibility in what teachers offer.
"They've never had an art room before," Joseph said. "The teachers have basically had to move from room to room."
Joseph sees a lot of opportunities outside the school walls, too. With the school moving out of downtown Rosemount and onto a larger plot of land the church has talked with the city of Rosemount about a partnership to install athletic fields. Joseph looks at a holding pond installed when the church was built and sees a potential new outdoor classroom where students can learn about nature. He imagines a parish garden where students can interact with the parish's older members.
Joseph doesn't sound worried about the work still to be done before school starts. He's seen enough houses built to know things come together quickly at the end. And while it's possible there won't be carpet downstairs when students return to school in September Joseph doesn't think anyone will mind.
Joseph expects students to be excited they each get their own locker, something that wasn't possible in the smaller school they're leaving. And he said students and parents alike were enthusiastic when they toured the building earlier this summer.
"I think they like the new lunchroom, but I'm guessing the gym will be popular," Joseph said.
The new school's gymnasium is more than twice the size of the gym at the current school.
The new school will also have a nurse's room, complete with its own washer and dryer. Joseph's own vote is split when he's asked about his favorite part of the new school. He likes the new library and the light that streams in through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Natural light is all around in the new building, with windows letting the sun shine into most classrooms. A large skylight lets light into an atrium near the school's entrance.
Joseph's other favorite feature in the new building might be a bit more surprising: he really likes the new storage room, a concrete room divided by chain link fences. The room provides much-needed space for everything from gym equipment to items belonging to a local Boy Scout troop.
"Plus, this room will be a nice tornado shelter," Joseph said.
Joseph sees a lot to get excited about with the new building. And getting all the work done on time? Well, that just requires a little faith.
That shouldn't be hard to come by at St. Joseph.