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'It's modern' | Galesburg Junior Senior High School shows off $40 million upgrades at open house

The renovations included more than $40 million for additional classrooms, updates to its performing arts center and full air conditioning in the building.

GALESBURG, Ill. — Students in the Galesburg area are taking on a higher level of learning as they enjoy more than $40 million in upgrades at Galesburg Junior Senior High School.

"Almost everything was renovated," Galesburg Community Unit School District #205 Superintendent John Asplund said. "There really isn't an area of this building that wasn't retouched. We ripped everything down to the studs and went to basically just an empty shell of a building and then rebuilt it."

The district held an open house at the building on West Fremont Street on Friday, Sept. 23.

"One of the biggest areas that people talked about was that we needed better facilities for kids to learn in," Asplund said. 

The discussions started in the fall of 2017, and renovations subsequently began in 2018.

"We knew we needed to keep this building because it would've been far too expensive to build a new one," Asplund said.

The state-of-the-art facility includes a performing arts center, around 14 additional classrooms and full air conditioning. 

"It doesn't look like the same high school that I attended back in the 90s. It's awesome," parent Megan Kane said.

The space is also bigger for band, choir and culinary arts students.

"There's just so many places where kids can go find their avenue that really suits them, to grow in their own learning path," Asplund said.

"It just seems more modern and I think kids will be more apt to enjoy coming to school," Kane said.

The building is the same one from back in the 1950s-1960s.

Credit: Galesburg CUSD #205

After consolidations, it also now includes 7th and 8th graders on the upper floor with a separate cafeteria and classrooms.

"So many people have been involved in this project and we're just so thrilled that we're able to show it off to the community," Asplund said.

Various funding sources helped provide the updates. 

Across the street from the junior-senior high is a new vocational center. The district will also have a new early childhood and administrative center, both of which are expected to be completed in 2023.

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