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New School Year, New School

By Viatra Baker
Click Photo to Enlarge

Front hallway



Electrical wires for the ceiling



Classroom under construction


New heat pump

Classroom with new carpet and lighting


MOOSEHEART, IL, August 22 With the start of school rapidly approaching, phase one of the $10 million school renovation project will be complete in just four days (fingers crossed!)

With only several repairs/additions to the school since its initial construction, the building contained mostly original elements from 1954. It was definitely time for an upgrade.

"Over the past decade we have really pushed the current structure beyond its useful life cycle," said Director General Scott Hart. "Although the timeline seems so compressed, the summer break was really the best option to make the necessary upgrades for our children."

And there was definitely a lot to get done.

"Establishing a budget, securing bids, hiring an architect - there was a lot of behind the scenes activity that needed to be done prior to the actual construction," Facilities Manager Keith Strutz said. "There will of course be a personal and professional satisfaction in seeing the finished product, but my number one goal is to have it done by August 26th for the kids. That will give me the most satisfaction."

One of the biggest tasks this summer was the removal of asbestos in the floor tiles and pipes.

"Removing floor tile that’s been there for 60 years, tough as nails because of the asbestos, is hard work," Strutz said. "It sticks to the floor. It's quite a process to scrape it up, remove it, and end up with the clean concrete underneath."

Another major part of the renovation was providing some much needed cosmetic work to the classrooms. All 40 classrooms will have new carpeting, Corian countertops, thermo-pane insulated windows, energy-efficient electrical ballast lighting, and dry erase boards instead of chalkboards. In addition, the walls will be repainted and the doors will be given new stain and varnish. These changes, while certainly labor-intensive, will provide a much better learning environment for students.

For the first time since the initial construction of the building, Mooseheart will finally have air conditioning. All rooms will be equipped with central air and each classroom will have its own heat pump to control temperatures. Another area of interest is the new addition to the building in the East Wing where an elevator is being installed.

There are still some finishing touches to add, but the renovation is well-underway and the progress that has been made is absolutely amazing. But perhaps the most amazing part of this whole process has been the men and women who have made it all possible.

"This project was a gift by the members of the Loyal Order of Moose, Women of the Moose, and Moose Legion - a true team effort during the Centennial year," Hart said. "What a great way to commemorate the work and effort by so many faithful members over the course of the last 100 years. This sends a message to current and future children at Mooseheart that the members do care and want nothing but the best for each and every child that calls Mooseheart home."

Click here to view photos from the renovation process, taken by our very own school principal, Jeff Szymczak.


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Mooseheart, IL 60539

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