Workers are busy installing built in cabinets, painting, putting up drywall and installing the suspended ceilings.
The midtown neighborhood school, under construction just north of 19th Street between Jackson and Nebraska streets, has been progressing quickly and is on track to open for the 2022-23 year.
The L-shaped building will be about three times larger than the previous Hunt, which once stood nearby the construction site. The old school, built in 1906, was demolished in June 2019.
Hunt Elementary Principal Cami Barker said some of her students tell her about “the brand new school going up by my house.” She said for the second graders, they were never in the old school.
Since Hunt was officially closed in 2019, the school’s students have attended classes in the former Crescent Park Elementary School at 114 W. 27th St.
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Tim Paul, the district’s director of operations and maintenance said construction has gone smoothly, with only a few bumps due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the project started before the pandemic, many items were able to be ordered before the shortages.
The district will take possession of the building on June 1. The summer will be spent installing furniture and finishing touches.
Recently, the large “Hunt” carved into the sandstone from the original school building have been incorporated into the new lunch room. This has been done in multiple new school constructions in Sioux City to remember the original building and provides a “nostalgia” feel.
Because Hunt is named the A-plus for arts and music school, there is a performing arts stage in the gymnasium that also features terra cotta aspects that were part of the original building.
Barker said the teachers incorporate the arts in lessons every single day and the arts are utilized to teach the standards. The school theme was known before the design process, so specific rooms were designed such as a specific gallery room to display art.
A majority of the school is on one floor, but a lower level features additional classrooms. Because of the design of the building, each classroom features large windows, except for the school’s black box theater.
One of the highlights of the new building is a large windowed stairwell that looks out onto Jackson Street.
There will be three outdoor playgrounds, with each geared to a specific grade level, the same as other recent elementary schools built in the district.
As with other new schools, the new Hunt will have one main entrance, with a security system during school hours to keep pupils safe. Visitors will be directed to the principal’s office area.
The entire school is also geothermal, a more efficient heating and cooling system.
Barker said it is amazing to see the building now, comparted to when she saw the architect designs.
“For our kids, a lot of them live in the surrounding area and they don’t leave the surrounding area,” she said. “To have something brand new, it’s going to amazing for them.”
She said 95 percent of the kids walked to the original school.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $22 millon. The project is being financed by the district’s share of a 1-percent sales tax the state designs for new and expanded schools and other physical improvements.
The school was named for Dr. Andrew Hunt, a physician and dentist who was also the first president of the Sioux City school board, the previous school was easily the district’s oldest. The oldest remaining is now Sunnyside Elementary, which dates to 1957.