BELOIT - School District of Beloit Board of Education members toured the district's newest building on Tuesday evening, the new Kolak Education Center located at Maple Avenue and Fourth Street.
Board President Pam Charles, Treasurer Kyle Larsen and board member Wendy Sanchez, Superintendent Stanley Munro and other staff members heard about all the building's amenities from Director of Facilities Sean Winters.
Winters said the building will be ready for staff in early August. The new Kolak Education Center will not only keep staff safe and comfortable, Winters said, but also will be an asset for the community and students and will help attract teachers and administrators. "It's a giant step forward, along with Dr. Munro," Winters said.
The facility provides a centrally-located site to house administrative functions and replace the aging Kolak Education Center located at 1633 Keeler Ave.
The vision behind the new site was for it to serve as a one-stop shop for school enrollment, staff training and more. It consists of a 16,000 square-foot first floor and about 10,000 square-foot second floor. The project, which will be wrapping up in July, came in at a pricetag of $5.5 million, according to earlier interviews with district officials.
Winters said the human resources and finance departments will be on the first floor with the IT area, central enrollment, mailroom, receiving and mechanical areas, custodial and storage areas and more. The upstairs will be home to the superintendent's office, executive team member offices and additional office space.
There will be restrooms on both floors and a total of seven conference rooms. Each staff member will have the same adjustable desk which can be raised to be a standing desk as Winters said "sitting is the new smoking" when it comes to health.
The second floor also features a staff break room and adjacent patio with scenic views of the river and the Beloit Memorial High School campus. Calling it the "million dollar view," Winters explained it will be a place of pride for the entire community. It will showcase to families what the district has to offer.
"It's what I call shock and awe," he said of the views from the second floor.
In an interview Monday, Gilbank Construction Project Superintendent Luke Fishel said crews have been putting the finishing touches on the new building this week.
The project was substantially complete by its deadline Friday. Around 100 different people worked on the project including Gilbank Construction and its subcontractors.
He said the school district added a bit to the scope of the project by requesting electrified locks and a security system.
"It will require a little extra time to order the hardware necessary and get it installed," Fishel said.
Fishel said the district's new office furniture is coming to be installed in the new facility on Monday, July 22. Gilbank Construction will be hooking up furniture and accompanying technology such as power and data.
Fishel said the project has gone smoothly. Although the rainy spring delayed site grading and landscaping a bit, crews caught up and all the rain helped get the grass and other plants grow quickly.
Fishel said he's pleased with the project which has curved walls and visual appeal.
"My favorite part is driving on Highway 51 and seeing a nice view of it from the river," he said.
The architectural firm that designed the building was Angus Young.