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Roughly 200 Anderson School students on Tuesday will begin the school year in an expanded and remodeled school that has been in the works for the past three years.

The first day of the school year will see students in the 23,000-square-foot addition to the school and the 9,000-square-foot remodel that improves aging infrastructure, includes more bathrooms and fixes the heating and cooling systems that saw classrooms become too hot or too cold depending on the time of year.

Anderson School’s Superintendent Kristi Jacobs at an open house and ribbon cutting last week applauded all the work and community involvement that the school — which opened in 1894 — has seen.

Initial conversations and planning on the school’s remodel began in 2018 with the community eventually approving a $6.9 million bond in Oct. 2019.

The construction project was a community effort with people throughout the district pitching in to donate or help, Jacobs said.

The remodeled section includes a small climbing wall in the gym donated by Spire Climbing, donated sod for the front of the school near the playground and donated office furniture from D.A. Davidson.

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Jack Jacobi, 9, left, and Hayes Taylor, 10, high-five while climbing on a wall donated by Spire climbing gym during the grand opening of the new Anderson School building on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

One of the largest contributions came from Anderson’s parent group that raised around $10,000 to remodel the school’s library, which covered new carpet, lighting, bookshelves and a circulation desk.

Architecture 118 designed the plans for the school while Dick Anderson Construction built the new addition and completed the remodel.

Kirk Scheel, project manager with Dick Anderson Construction, said the old wing of the school had a lot of issues, including roof leaks and the heating systems going down in the winter, forcing the school to close its doors to students.

The physical construction started in June 2020, while the remodeling of the older wing of the school started summer of this year, as soon as students were out of the building.

Scheel said his company was lucky to start construction before a lot of the COVID-19-related construction supply issues hit. Builders didn’t have any major material shortages during construction, he said.

The construction also included expanded parking and a bus loop in the front of the building.

Warren Bauder, chair of the Anderson Board of Trustees, said the district had stayed focused on its goals of expanding accessibility in the building, fixing the aging infrastructure issues and improving technology throughout the school, while staying focuses on keeping class sizes small.

Jacobs said the K-8 school would be able to accommodate around 300 students but at the moment didn’t foresee expanding much beyond the 205-210 students it’s averaged in the last few years.

The expanded classrooms also have breakout spaces that are shared between two rooms, allowing teachers more flexibility.

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Quinten Certo, 5, picks out a book with his father, Mike Certo, in the library of the new Anderson School building during its grand opening on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

Stephani Lourie, a sixth grade teacher in Anderson for the past 26 years, said everyone is excited and relieved to have new spaces.

“It’s so important to have a building that’s more conducive for learning,” she said, adding the space was expansive and safe.

Lourie said the remodel was something that needed to happen and that the new space is more conducive for the current teaching style versus what it was when the building was first constructed.

“I’m really looking forward to not wearing a hat during the winter,” she said, with a laugh.

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Liz Weber can be reached at or 582-2633.

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