$ 9.2 Million Renovation, Expansion Underway at Zitzman Elementary School in Pacific | Local news


School administrators including board members, Superintendent Dr Carrie Schwierjohn and Assistant Superintendent Tom Sauvage gathered on Monday, November 29 to watch Zitzman Elementary School Principal Keith Orris and 10 students picking up the first shovelfuls of dirt from the site of a massive $ 9.2 million construction project will add 26,000 square feet of space to Zitzman.

“We are very excited to launch this project, and it is already in full swing,” said Dr. Ketina Armstrong, communications director for Meramec Valley R-III School District. “They came over during the fall break and actually put all the fences in place.”

Armstrong said the St. Louis-based architectural firm that designed the project, Hoener Associates Inc., expected the project to be completed in March 2023. Some feared that rising construction costs could delay construction, but the district is moving forward with the project, which Armstrong called a “needed update.”

With the addition, 26,000 square feet will be added, allowing for eight new kindergarten and first grade classrooms, an extension of the library and a full-size gymnasium that will also serve as a storm shelter, among other safety improvements and d ‘accessibility.

The multi-million dollar project represents a large part of the $ 17.9 million increase in the No-Tax Proposal 1 that was passed by voters in Meramec Valley School District R-III in April. It includes other capital improvement projects such as the roof repair at Pacific High School; $ 1.3 million in HVAC upgrades at Riverbend Middle School; new playgrounds at Coleman, Nike, Robertsville, Truman and Zitzman elementary schools; and updated security systems throughout the district.

The money will also bolster STEM facilities and bus infrastructure and go towards building a full-size track at Riverbend.

Made from insulated concrete forms, the new gymnasium will be strong enough to withstand an EF5 tornado. It will be large enough to house the entire school from inclement weather with room for everyone at the Doris Hoffman Early Learning Center, according to Armstrong.

During construction at Zitzman, traffic on Indian Pride Drive will be restricted to southbound travel only. Drivers will have the option of exiting Indian Pride on West Union Street or passing Zitzman to Payne Street. The district posted a “no entry” sign at the Zitzman Gate on South Indian Pride Drive to prevent vehicles from going against the tide.

Armstrong said many communications were sent to parents regarding traffic and the first few days went well.

The addition is the first phase in a series of projects at Zitzman, improving a building that was first completed in the 1960s. According to Armstrong, the original section of the building that houses the kindergarten and first grade classes was to have a lifespan of 20 years. It will still be in effect after 2023, but Armstrong said the board plans to propose another bond issue after all current Proposal 1 funds have been used up to raise more funds for a second phase of renovation, which could include demolition.

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