CLINTON—Judging from the bright smiles of the little Clinton Cougars on Friday afternoon, the future of the school district is bright, according to Clinton School Board President Sheri Mullooly.

School board members, Superintendent Jim Brewer, the Cougars mascot, construction workers and lots of kindergarteners gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the addition and renovation to the existing middle school at 115 Milwaukee St., which will be named Clinton Elementary School, following the upgrades.

“I want to thank community members and the core team and staff who brainstormed a plan to be proud of,” Mullooly said.

The new 4k through sixth grade facility has a cost estimate of about $22 million and is scheduled to be completed by August of 2022. J.P. Cullen and Sons is the general contractor for the project and the architect was Eppstein Uhen Architects.

“It’s an eight classroom addition with four 4k classrooms and four kindergarten classrooms,” Director of Facilities, Grounds and Safety Brandon Loomer said.

Included in the addition is a new 3,500-square-foot cafeteria/commons area and a collaborative group area between the 4K and kindergarten classrooms. The total addition’s square footage is roughly 21,000 square feet.

“We are hoping that the commons/cafeteria space can also be used by community groups for facility use,” added Vice President of the Clinton Board of Education Gary Gilbank said. “It’s a nice open space.”

The renovations at the newly named Junior and Senior High school will be completed Jan. 1. Construction began on the new addition to the high school in a groundbreaking ceremony in May.

It followed a November referendum passage for facilities upgrades totaling $32 million to address critical maintenance, renovations, repairs and additions at the middle and high school buildings. As part of the plan it was decided the elementary school building at 301 E. St. would be retired. As soon as these two projects are completed, the district will be moving students into the two renovated schools—the current high school at 112 Milwaukee St. and the current middle school, going from three schools to two.

Seventh and eighth graders from the middle school moved up to the Junior and Senior High School this fall. When completed, the district will move 4k through 4th graders to the new elementary school. Currently the fifth and sixth graders are in the building.

Upgrades for the high school included a new roof, two-station gym along with renovations, replacement of the gymnasium floor, expansion of the agriculture and tech ed classrooms and renovations to the 2D art and life sciences classrooms.

The cost for the high school project will be roughly $10 million, and the new 4k through sixth grade facility will cost about $22 million.

Thanks to the renovations at both buildings, students and staff will be more comfortable as there will be air conditioning, better temperature control and new and more movable furniture suitable to modern learning. Staff will enjoy new windows and more natural lighting as well as additional space for collaboration.

The upgrades also will help the IT functions of the school and the HVAC system to run smoother and more efficiently. The updated and high efficiency plumbing fixtures, updated boilers and chillers and energy-efficient lighting will save money. Loomer noted the former middle school was built in the 1950s and was in need of significant upgrades.

Material procurement has been challenging, but the project is still on schedule and under budget.

“We are full speed ahead and looking forward to amazing updated facilities for our community,” Loomer said.