Even the bricks match up – additions at Howbert, Jackson schools stay on schedule

       The additions at both Howbert and Jackson schools are on schedule, with completions expected by the planned date of Dec. 3.

Uriah Huffine rolls paint on a newly installed classroom wall inside the Howbert Elementary addition this week.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Howbert is actually three weeks ahead of schedule, according to Val Baughman, the School District 11 project manager for both projects. Daniel-Barry Construction is the general contractor for Jackson, and T.N. Parker Construction is the general contractor for Howbert.
       “They [Parker] got a little lucky, and should be done before Thanksgiving,” he said.
       The new space at both schools will not start being used for education until second semester starts in January.
       “Both contractors are doing a super job,” said D-11 Facilities Director Mike Maloney. “This should give both schools plenty of time to move in.”
       Howbert, currently at 30,600 square feet, is getting a four-room addition with a “footprint” of 4,780 square feet on the northeast end of its school; Jackson is getting six classrooms (also at the northeast end), adding 7,560 square feet to the current 33,200.
       Other than Jackson planning to put kindergarteners into two of the new classrooms, decisions have not yet been made at either school about which classes will move into the new space, Baughman said.
       There may be some relocation competition among teachers at both schools - not just because the rooms are new, but because they are being prewired for overhead projectors as well as “smart boards” - a new technology that can transform what used to be chalk boards into computer screens. Howbert and Jackson will be the first schools in the district to get additions with these amenities, Baughman pointed out.
       They were affordable, despite tight budgets for both projects, by leaving out the wall-mounted TVs that used to be standard in all classrooms. “There's little need for TV anymore [in classrooms],” he said. “Most of the lessons are from videostreaming.”
       Another plus for the new rooms is modern levels of insulation in the walls, meaning energy-cost savings. The level in the original buildings's walls is probably around R- 3, while the new ones will have R-19. As with the original construction at both schools, concrete blocks are being used for the major walls. This should allow them to “last 100 years,” according to Daniel-Barry owner Barry Buttermore.

The new six-classroom Jackson Elementary addition, which is scheduled to be under construction for about two more months, is being built north of the original school (background). The new kindergarten classes will be in the two farther rooms on this side, with a playground in front (roughly between the bulldozer and the flagpole. Note the similarity in brick styles between the old and new buildings.
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       School officials and contractors on both projects have been excited about being able to match up the exterior brick color, especially considering that Howbert was built in 1959 and Jackson in 1965. “It's so hard to find a match when the brick was made in different lots at different times, even if it's the same pattern and the same name,” Maloney said. It helped out that Christiansen, Reece & Partners is the architect on both jobs. Leland Reece “has been in town for a long time and thought he recognized it,” Maloney said. Eventually the quarry used for the original Jackson brick was found, although as Baughman noted, “the process has changed, so it's not the same weathered pattern.” At Howbert, Parker (the contractor) brought several different bricks in, to see if a match could be found. “Sure enough, one of them looked real good,” Maloney said.
       Howbert's rooms (each 885 square feet) will be slightly larger than Jackson's (710 to 735 square feet). At Howbert, the larger size is in keeping with what's there now, said David Gidley, the building manager who actually attended the school in the late '80s and has a daughter (Hannah) who's a Howbert fourth-grader now.

The additions at both Howbert and Jackson schools are on schedule, with completions expected by the planned date of Dec. 3.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The Howbert project is the simpler design of the two - basically just a northerly extension of rooms off a hallway through a previous exit door. Jackson also extends a hallway north, but cuts a new, main door off the new hallway so people don't need to walk to the end of the addition to access the drop-off area and parking lot just west of it.
       The additions were needed to handle the influx of students resulting from District 11 school closures. Jackson is getting about 75 students from the former Pike Elementary, and Howbert about 40 from the former Whittier. Both are using portable classrooms now to help handle the extra kids.

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