SARTELL -- With the construction of the new Sartell High School now in the rear view mirror, the school district is shifting their focus to transforming the old high school into the new middle school.

Renovations at the future middle school are underway as the building is shut down for this school year. Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert says a strong focus of the project is to give students more flexibility in the classroom.

What we're trying to do in this building is to open it up a little bit. Give some space where kids and go and do some of that collaborative work and have flexible learning areas that we have in the high school, that we would like to encourage in all of our buildings.

The biggest areas of renovation is in the old industrial tech space, media center and science labs.

A large portion of the building, such as the cafeteria, auditorium, gym and a majority of classrooms, will remain the same with the exception of new carpeting, lighting and paint.

Schwiebert says they are also making the front entry into the school more secure.

When you enter the building you won't be able to get farther than the vestibule as the doors will be locked when school begins. The only way to get enter the building would be into a new entrance into the office, which gives us a lot more control of who is in the building.

Additionally, because of the larger parking lot, and fewer number on vehicles the need for on street parking has been eliminated.

The cost of the project is roughly 11-million and if things go well the renovations are expected to wrap up in May.

Schwiebert says from there the district will spend the summer renovating the current middle school in anticipation for 3rd-5th grade students when the building becomes the Riverview Intermediate School next fall.

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