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New Richardton-Taylor school offers many improvements

The new Richardton-Taylor High School will be lit by the heavens. Natural lighting feeds through skylights, evenly illuminating a cavernous cafeteria space, still under construction, overflowing with equipment and potential. "I am really excited ...

Superintendent Brent Bautz walks through what will eventually be a classroom at the new Richardton-Taylor High School, which is expected to see construction completed around summer of 2018. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press
Superintendent Brent Bautz walks through what will eventually be a classroom at the new Richardton-Taylor High School, which is expected to see construction completed around summer of 2018. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press

The new Richardton-Taylor High School will be lit by the heavens.

Natural lighting feeds through skylights, evenly illuminating a cavernous cafeteria space, still under construction, overflowing with equipment and potential.

"I am really excited to show the community of Richardton and Taylor what we've accomplished here," Superintendent Brent Bautz said. "I think they're going to be really surprised ... I'm excited to show it to the community."

Bautz, sporting a hard hat, took the lead in showing off the under-construction Richardton-Taylor High School, which will replace the existing structure after this school year.

The new school will be a step up in basically every way from the existing building, which currently struggles with structural problems as well as being a victim of its age-it was built in 1961.

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"We started having structural issues with our previous building and basically it's ... the soil around here ... we have underground heating, ventilation and cooling systems, the tunnels were filling up with water, we had a musty smell," Bautz said. "The building began to settle and we were having huge cracks."

The problems facing the current school are myriad-the parking lot is a sea of mud as a warm week melts the snow. Even the plumbing and kitchen facilities are in need of an upgrade, Bautz said.

"The lunch area, the kitchen, we're using old equipment in there and the plumbing is bad, so we're going to have a new 21st century kitchen," Bautz said. "It's going to be awesome."

Class sizes continue to grow in the area, and the school district is renting the area's social center to accommodate all of the students. The new building, Bautz said, allows them to no longer rely on a community center to house the growing number of students and they'll be in good shape to accommodate any future growth or expansion.

Elementary school students will have spacious classrooms, with sliding glass doors that they can write on, which will open up into group work areas. The new facility will be 43,400 square feet and be divided into three sections: a two-story academic east wing, an administrative, kitchen and cafeteria area and a single-story art, music and technology shop wing.

Much of the old school will be demolished. Only the gym and possibly the weight room will remain in use following the transition to the new school, which is expected to happen soon.

"Timetable is set up where, we're going to start moving into the admin area ... the end of May, maybe the first week of June. They're going to be done taping and texturing in the first half of March," Bautz said, adding that students will start in the new facility next fall. "It's amazing, it is, and it's going to be a little chaotic."

The phased construction means that some portions of the school won't be finished by the outset of the 2018-19 school year, but Bautz said that the technology wing is expected to be fully complete by Christmas of 2018.

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Science classes will be on the second floor of the academic wing, along with storage. Bautz's favorite room is also there, on the second floor-destined to be an English classroom, it has a wall that's entirely a window, which will peer out upon the horseshoe-shaped courtyard intended to link the three sections of the school together.

"You can see the whole back wall is glass," Bautz said. "The intent was that you could see the courtyard."

Construction began in 2017. An open house is expected to be held to showcase the facility closer to its final completion.

Superintendent Brent Bautz of Richardton-Taylor showcases the interior of the under-construction new high school facility, which will be ready to see students in the fall of 2018. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press
Superintendent Brent Bautz of Richardton-Taylor showcases the interior of the under-construction new high school facility, which will be ready to see students in the fall of 2018. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press

Related Topics: RICHARDTON
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