Second-floor renovations at Tremont Elementary School that will yield new classroom spaces, as well as electric and plumbing upgrades, are expected to be completed soon and the area open to students Tuesday, Feb. 18.

The renovations are part of the district's $235 million projects involving Upper Arlington High School and five elementary schools.

Overall, Tremont is undergoing work to build a 7,000-square-foot addition, five new kindergarten rooms, the establishment of 30 classrooms, a new centralized media center and a new outdoor learning space.

The second-floor portion of the project not only will provide new, enhanced learning spaces but also will enable students to be moved upstairs so that work on the building's first floor can get into gear.

The entire Tremont project is scheduled to be completed this summer.

"We broke ground for this project in June of 2019," said Chris Potts, Upper Arlington Schools chief operating officer. "We are completely renovating the original Tremont building -- updating all the mechanicals, electric and plumbing.

"It's essentially a new building within the original shell. The original classrooms are also being reconfigured to accommodate a more collaborative learning atmosphere. There is also a small addition that will house new kindergarten classrooms and the media center."

The project's cost is approximately $10.3 million. It's being funded through a 5.17-mil bond voters approved in November 2017 that is expected to generate $230 million.

A district-affiliated committee also has raised $5 million in private donations to contribute to the work at the five buildings being rebuilt or renovated.

Tremont was built in 1952.

Enrollment at the school is more than 600 and is expected to reach 700 within the next few years.

"Additional space was needed because there has been significant enrollment growth at Tremont in the past decade, and that is only projected to continue," Potts said. "In addition, the original part of the building was in need of many repairs and renovations in order for it to continue serving students for generations to come."

Tremont principal Jim Buffer said kindergarten students will move into new classrooms when the second-floor opens.

"First-graders will move into newly renovated classrooms on the second floor that same day, as the first floor main hallway will be closed for the remainder of the school year as those classrooms are remodeled," Buffer said.

"Our fourth- and fifth-grade students will remain in modular classrooms."

In addition to addressing enrollment growth, Buffer said, the kindergarten addition will enable Tremont to hold all-day kindergarten classes in 2021-22.

He said many of the new spaces have been installed with pull-down doors that allow teachers to open up spaces to allow collaboration between different classes and grade levels.

There also are smaller rooms that have been constructed on the second floor to provide space for intervention learning when individual students or small groups of them need specialized instruction.

Buffer added that the mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades will improve energy efficiency at the building.

"When Tremont was constructed in 1952, no one could have imagined the myriad changes to education and how they would impact how we teach and how we use space," he said.

"Our new spaces allow for more flexibility (and) more collaboration and are designed with flexibility in mind as education continues to evolve over the next 50 years.

"The new design of our building offers greater flexibility for the use of space and certainly encourages collaborative work."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate