Touring Johnston’s $75M High School

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JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  From pictures, to progress, to possessing a brand new high school.

"We are about eight weeks out from getting keys to the building," said Johnston Community School District Communications Director Laura Sprague.

Kickstarted from a 2013 bond referendum, Johnston's $75 million state-of-the-art high school will be ready to welcome students in the fall of 2017.

"It's a solution to accommodate our growing enrollments, and now that we have it we can't wait for students take to it and fill the building up," said Sprague.

The school will house 10-12th grade students, while 8-9th graders will pour into the current high school already in use.

"Right now it's the largest high school in the state of Iowa with a capacity of 1,800 students and a finished total of 369,000 square feet," said Sprague.

Stahl construction is working on the project. The company's headquarters are out of Minnesota, but they keep an Urbandale office. They are proud of the hard work everyone has put in.

"We have some great architects. FRK has done a great job with the design."

Designs by FRK, out of West Des Moines, include a 30,000 square foot gym, 5,600 square foot weight room, a brand new football stadium, and a 1,200 seat auditorium. Sprague said, "It is all going to be a great asset for our high school and community."

When students arrive and adjust to the sprawling facility with LED lighting, they'll also have to adjust to a new meaning of 'take your seat.' Each subject--math, science, social studies, and others--will have different ways to sit or stand throughout class.

"In the learning spaces you will see a lot of different types of furniture to keep students moving throughout the day," said Sprague.

While they are on the move, there won't be much time wasted at lockers because students wanted it that way.

"I think seeing the lockers and seeing the downsized amount and maybe even the smaller size of lockers is a surprise to people," Sprague said.

Added sunlight will also keep students and staff feeling refreshed, thanks to three separate courtyards.

"About 95% of the classrooms have exterior facing windows," said Stahl Construction project manager David Dominguez.

"It's a very exciting time in our district to be able to open this up for our staff, students, and community." said Sprague.

The project is scheduled to be completed on April 28th.

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