End is coming fast for Park Rapids class of 2024 – Park Rapids Enterprise

Park Rapids Area High School Principal Jeff Johnson shared plans for the end of the school year with the school board on Monday, May 6.

To start, Johnson reported on a day celebrating transitions last Wednesday, May 1. The graduating seniors robed up and walked the halls at both Century School and the high school, receiving cheers and high fives from younger students.

Later, he said, the school had a pep fest, featuring a seniors versus staff basketball game (which the students won) and welcoming next year’s freshman class with a red carpet entrance.

“The atmosphere was just dynamic,” said Johnson. “All the rest of the kids were (thinking) it’s over, it’s time to honor the seniors. So, everybody comes down and makes a bridge over the red carpet, and the seniors walk through the red carpet and they leave.

“Any eighth grader that was afraid to come over or was thinking, ‘I don’t know what this is going to be like,’ should have had an awesome feeling. It was a fun day.”

Prom went well on Saturday, May 4, Johnson said. Coming next would be this Friday’s (May 10) scholarship program, student picnic and athletic banquet.

“We’d normally hand out yearbooks at (the picnic), but there was a flaw in the yearbook, which doesn’t happen very often, and they had to be reprinted,” he said. “They’re coming early next week.”

From there, Johnson said, seniors will be out most of Wednesday, May 15 for Senior Slam, with the last day of school Friday, May 17.

The week of May 20-24, he said, about 60-70 students will come back to help staff pack, as classes are moving at both the high school and Century School due to renovations at both schools.

Johnson added, “It’s going to be weird because there’s a week of not seeing these kids” before graduation at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. Choices of venue are the football field first; the high school gymnasium, in case of rain; and Century School third, if construction prevents using the gym.

Johnson said the end of the year “has been coming really fast and furious. But it just goes to show what a great group of kids we have. It’s really been a fun group. I made a comment to somebody the other day that I don’t often wish that we had a couple more months, but with the group of kids that I have right now, I’d back right up to the first of March and redo this ending part again because they’ve been really good and it’s been fun.”

Project Manager Austin May with ICS gave the school board a progress report on the PRoject 309 school facility improvements.

Starting with the new seventh- and eighth-grade wing, May said, installation of exterior metal panels and brick is complete; flooring is mostly installed, except for a little rubber flooring; and contractors are already working to address “punch list” items before starting to install furniture.

In the district administration area, May said, ceiling tile has been installed; flooring finishes continue, with carpet installation substantially completed and rubber flooring to follow; and only a few areas of exterior paneling to install.

In the new gym area, the gym floor and bathroom wall tiling are done, and exterior finishes are substantially completed, May said.

In the high school administrative wing, drywall has been painted; ceiling grid and pad-out are underway. Meanwhile, May said, the scope of work to create a new, secure main entrance has begun, as has exterior panel installation.

“Overall, we’re tracking very well,” he said with respect to schedule and budget.

At the new school bus garage, May said, contractors continue to address punch list items on the completed building. Grading has begun on the north side of the bus garage, bollards have been installed, and excavation for concrete pouring has begun.

Regarding remodeling at Century School, scheduled for this summer, May said contractors had a preconstruction meeting on Monday. “Everybody’s on board and ready to get going,” he said.

This summer, May said, contractors will work to turn over the Phase 1 high school additions and the bus garage for occupancy. Meanwhile, they will enter the first of two “summer slams,” featuring renovations at both schools and the beginning of Phase 2 additions at the high school – a new kitchen, Alternative Learning Center and transportation lab.

“It’s pretty amazing, after a couple of years, and a year of construction, everything is still rolling,” said Superintendent Lance Bagstad. “Two more years left, though.”

“It’s going to go really quick,” said May.

Following the meeting, May and Project Executive Justin Maaninga led school board members and administrative staff on a tour of the new facilities.


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