Wellington Middle School auxiliary gymnasium looks great; projects elsewhere are lagging as school start looms

gymnasium inside

by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — With the new school year fast approaching, and construction still continuing at some of the schools, Wellington Middle School Principal Jamie Ybarra anticipates that his buildings will be ready by the first day of school, Aug. 23 – including the final touches of the new auxiliary gymnasium.

“In the next two weeks, they will install a new safe entrance to the building, and the new auxiliary gym should be finished,” Ybarra said.

Quote box constructionThe new auxiliary gym is getting rave reviews including from the new Superintendent Mark Whitener who said, “the gymnasium floor is as beautiful that any homeowner in Wellington would want it in their house.”

New LED lighting was installed in both the new and existing gymnasiums to make it brighter inside the buildings. The new gym will have seating available for up to 400 visitors on one side, and space for the teams and scoreboard on the other side.

Sauerwein Contruction Company out of Wichita is handling the construction and remodel job at the middle school.

“They have been working on it since about November, but they have been very diligent about keeping with it and getting it done on time,” Ybarra said. “They have been a pleasure to work with.”
Locker auxilary gym picture

The new gym will have 48 double stacked lockers in each of two locker rooms, giving students a chance to change and store their belongings. There will also be two restrooms, one being handicapped accessible, available.

“Now we have the capacity we need for seventh and eighth grade games, and can accommodate practices and host teams as we need to,” Ybarra said.

The new parking lot will feature north and south parking spots, and students will be able to get to class safely, as the cones will be gone, replaced by small pillars.

“I’m excited due to the fact that we will be capable of hosting other games,” Ybarra said.

Next week, workers will paint the markers in the new gym, which has a freshly varnished floor, and complete touch-ups and the locker rooms. The construction at Wellington Middle School should be completely finished by the first day of school.

Assistant Superintendent Brad Morris said that the construction at Kennedy, Roosevelt and Eisenhower schools is progressing, but not as fast as school officials had hoped. All three schools are receiving new FEMA, or safe rooms. Walz, Harman, Huffman Construction Company, in Wichita is taking care of the construction and remodel projects on these schools.

“There is beginning to be some concerns if they are going to be ready by the Aug. 12 date,” Morris said. “We were told the projects would be completed.

Due to electrical issues on the units inside, Morris stated, there were setbacks.

“Hopefully they have the problem solved so they continue to move forward with everything else,” Morris said.

He said that just this week the old rooftop air conditioning system was removed from Roosevelt, and a new roof is being added.

“There are still things at Kennedy and Eisenhower that need to be done in the existing buildings, lots of finish work, but one project has to be completed before another one is started,” Morris said.

With the new air units, Morris said, they need to be installed before painting and carpeting is done to remove the humidity.

“When the units went down, they didn’t want to start those projects until the new ones were in place, so they were put on the back burner for a bit,” Morris said.

The offices at Kennedy and Eisenhower are also still under construction.

“Hopefully they have it figured out and we can see a lot of progress in the next four weeks,” Morris said.

The additions will not be ready when school starts, Morris said, but the existing structures should be ready to go when school starts.

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