Ellis addition near completion

Published 3:43 pm Saturday, July 17, 2010

Despite how it looks, with building material piled around and workers swarming, Ellis Middle School’s addition is on track to be complete by the end of August.

“Progress is coming along great,” said Matt Miller, director of buildings and grounds for the Austin School District.

Substantial work will be complete by Aug. 20 and the school will reach final completion by Aug. 27. Construction of the addition began in July.

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Katie Berglund, principal of Ellis Middle School, considers the project to be an important move forward for the district.

“The project as a whole is gaining us additional space,” Berglund said. “If we had not added this space, we would have had more overlapping of classrooms. My fear was we would have lost the computer lab to make space for classrooms.”

That project includes expanding the school’s science labs and kitchen area, as well as adding a multi-purpose gym and two more science labs.

“The addition of the science rooms allows us to bring our instruction in science up to the level equal to that of the high school,” Berglund said. “Students will be prepared to delve deeper into the content of their science classes when they reach high school.”

The project received support funds in the form of $550,000 in combined donations from Hormel Foods, the Hormel Foundation, Austin Packaging and private donors Dick and Nancy Knowlton. School officials estimate the renovation’s total cost will be $5.5 million.