Wichita students returned this week to the first new classrooms built by the school bond issue district voters approved two years ago.
Among the bigger construction jobs are additions at Seltzer Elementary, 11660 E. Lincoln, and Clark Elementary, 650 S. Apache. The two Seltzer additions hold eight classrooms for students in kindergarten, second and third grades, while the Clark addition has classrooms, a music room, teacher workroom and more.
"Fortunately, many projects have been under budget," district spokesman Susan Arensman said.
Two more additions should be substantially completed by the end of September.
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Linwood Elementary, 1645 S. Hydraulic, is getting an addition that will hold eight classrooms and a cafeteria. Cleaveland Traditional Magnet Elementary, 3345 W. 33rd, has an addition holding a classroom and art room.
At Cloud Elementary, 1212 W. 25th, an addition containing a multipurpose room, plus extensive renovations to create music rooms, should be done by December.
All of the new buildings are designed to relieve crowding. Most also serve as FEMA storm shelters.
The district has also continued to upgrade athletic and arts facilities with bond issue proceeds. New this fall are tennis courts at East, Heights, Northwest and South high schools; tracks at Brooks, Hadley, Stucky and Truesdell middle schools; and turf and track at North and West high schools.
West High and five middle schools — Curtis, Hadley, Jardine, Marshall and Mead — are undergoing improvements to their auditoriums that should be completed this year. East High does as well, although that work was paid for with other district funds.
Improvements are under way or will be soon at a dozen other elementary schools, as well as East and Heights high schools.
Construction of six schools is also beginning this year: the new Lewis Open Magnet/south Wichita elementary; the new northeast high school; a new K-8 school in Bel Aire; a new southeast K-8 school and high school; and the new Ortiz Elementary on North Arkansas.
The 2008 bond issue financed $370 million in improvements. Through July, Arensman said, $74.8 million in work had been completed or agreed upon. The projects were about $8 million under budget, she said.
For more information on bond issue projects, go to bond2008.usd259.org.