FISHER — Beginning March 25, junior high students in Fisher will have a new place to learn.
The move into the new junior high wing at Fisher Junior-Senior High began this week.
The new wing, which is part of a $7 million project that also includes renovation of the existing junior-senior high building and construction of a school/community fitness facility, has 10 classrooms and a computer and science lab.
Junior high classes are currently located in the building's west wing. The new addition, built to the south, spans about 15,000 square feet.
Classes will begin following next week's spring break. Students began the process Thursday, moving the contents of their lockers, since classes are not in session today because of parent-teacher conferences. The maintenance-janitorial staff will take advantage of spring break to complete the move.
A 13-year-old portable classroom that had been used for high school classes will also be sold and removed, and classes moved into the main building.
Superintendent Barb Thompson said school staff had been putting the final touches on the new wing, completing tasks such as waxing floors and doing final cleaning.
The project is being funded with $6 million from the county's 1 percent sales tax and $1 million in working cash bonds.
The district experienced $1 million in unanticipated costs in the renovation portion of the project because of asbestos removal, a more extensive kitchen remodel with additional equipment and roofing repairs, plus the extra expense for the architect to redesign and then rebid the project.
Thompson said the total project is running ahead of schedule, although completion of some of the work was shifted around from what was originally planned.
"We thought we'd be moving in just after the first of the year, but because we switched up the order to get the whole project done a bit more quickly, it pushed back the opening of that wing," Thompson said.
"We're really excited to get it open and up and running."
The facility not only gleams a little brighter, it is also greener due to the more efficient heating system and installation of the more energy-efficient windows and doors.
The new fitness facility will be used by physical education classes and athletic teams as well as be open to the general public.
The village of Fisher contributed $560,000 for the new facility. Thompson said the fitness equipment has not yet been installed.
She said the village will manage the use of the facility with hours set aside for members of the public.