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Teachers, administrators and architects began meeting this week about the $23.5 million expansion and remodel of Holmen High School, with the goal of having a finished design by March.

The project — which calls for the construction of a new fine arts center and gymnasium, and the remodeling of some classrooms and activity spaces — is meant to prepare the school for an enrollment bump a few years from now.

District leaders will provide a formal update on the project at a school board meeting on Monday.

Kristin Mueller

Mueller

“We’re really excited to be starting on this, and our colleagues will be bringing input directly to the architects over the next several weeks,” District Administrator Kristin Mueller said Thursday. The high school, built in 1994, was last expanded in 2000.

“We’re coming up on the 25-year anniversary,” she said. “This (project) really fits into our long-term plan for the district.”

According to the district, the high school is mostly lacking in activity space and common areas, as opposed to traditional classroom space.

The biggest additions are the fine arts center, which beats the current facility by 750 seats, and the gymnasium.

Crews will also reorganize the cafeteria and kitchen, add new locker rooms, add a career technology education area and install new ventilation and cooling systems around the school, among other projects.

Mueller said the additions will be completed first, so there will be plenty of space during the remodel, and that the most intrusive work will be done over the summer.

If all goes according to plan, she said, construction will be finished by early 2021.

The project, along with recurring funds to maintain the new space, was approved by voters in November. It was the costliest referendum in district history.

The district will solicit bids in July, with construction slated to begin in August.

Kyle Farris can be reached at (608) 791-8234 or kfarris@lacrossetribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Kyle_A_Farris.

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Kyle Farris covers education for the La Crosse Tribune. Reach him at (608) 791-8234 or kfarris@lacrossetribune.com.

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