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Out with the old and in with the new as Rock Island High School renovations complete

Rock Island High School and officials cut a ribbon Monday afternoon to celebrate the completion of the multi-million dollar renovation project.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — After almost a year and a half of construction, Rock Island High School is ready to show off its new facelift.

School, district and city officials gathered outside the school Monday afternoon to cut a ribbon to celebrate the completion of the project.

A total of 38,000 square feet was renovated, including an additional 13,250 square feet added to the existing structure.

The look of the school has changed from both the inside and the outside. The buildingl now has a new entrance with a reconfigured sidewalk and an improved student drop-off/pick-up area that students will begin using Tuesday, 

"You would normally come in and you're trying to get to the main office, the principal's office, the nurses and such, and they were up on the almost like second floor of our building," Rock Island-Milan School District Superintendent Dr. Reginald Lawrence said. "With the new renovations... you come in through those secured entryways, you make your way right to the main office, to the nurse's office, to all the administrators and athletic directors, it was really a better reconfiguration of the building."

That new entryway will also now be secure to further screen those coming in to visit the building. 

"The secured entryway, I think is extremely important," said Principal Jeff Whitaker. "I think that's most important to make sure that staff and students are safe and to provide that for the school and community."

Inside that entryway is a new cafeteria and common space for students.

"I call it college commons because that's what it reminds me of," Dr. Lawrence said. "They're going to love all the new and additional seating. There's lots of ports for them to plug in their phones and such. And it's a place where, when you need that place to read, you need that place to study, if teachers want to use this additional space, the students are going to love this piece."

The project was slated to cost $9.8 million, but ended up costing closer to $11 million because of rising costs, Lawrence said.

The bulk of the funding came from a 1% sales tax in the city of Rock Island.

Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms spoke during Rock Island's ribbon cutting Monday afternoon celebrating the completion of renovations, a new commons addition and expansion of the cafeteria and a new secured entry. "The school board has done a great job in managing taxpayers' dollars to make sure they get the right things for the right reasons," Thoms said. Outside the high school, you will see a reconfigured sidewalk, improved student drop off/pick up area and other office renovations. A total of 38,000 square feet was renovated, including an additional 13,250 square feet added to the existing high school structure. Legat Architects designed the project and Bush Construction is the contractor.

Posted by City of Rock Island Government on Monday, February 6, 2023

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