A $20.7 million Decorah High School renovation and expansion project is on budget and ahead of schedule.

To highlight the updated facility, the Decorah Community School District will host a community open house Sunday, Sept. 8, from 1 - 3 p.m.

Sunday's event begins with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 12:45 p.m., followed by a 1 p.m. assembly in the auditorium to recognize those people who played a prominent role in the design and completion of the project. Beginning at 1:15 p.m., representatives from StruXture Architects from Waterloo, Larson Construction, the Decorah Board of Education and the administration will be on hand to assist in tours and answer questions.

Maps of the current building will be available, and staff, students, the Board and administrators will be available to provide information and perspectives about the project.

Refreshments will be served in the commons area.



Community vision

The project has taken just over two years to complete and will be finished four months earlier than expected, with the exception of a small punch list and some landscaping.

Decorah Superintendent Mike Haluska is quick to acknowledge the commitment from the people of Decorah.

"I want to say thank you to our patrons (residents) for having faith in us to create the best possible educational environment for our young people we could," he said.

Haluska said he thinks of funding for the project as a three-legged stool.

"It was paid for through the combination of a $10.4 million voter-approved bond issue, renewal of the $1.34 (per thousand dollars of taxable valuation) Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) and our portion of our statewide penny (sales tax)," said Haluska.



Innovations

Haluska and Building and Grounds Director Greg Schaller said there are many ecological and educational improvements, which will be realized as a result of the renovations.

"From an ecological standpoint, the difference we'll be able to make and the dollars saved will be impressive," said Haluska.

Haluska explained with regard to the building's carbon footprint, the new heating, ventilating and cooling systems will be able to operate at a combined cost that is lower than the school's current heating system by itself.

"It's a geothermal hybrid system," explained Schaller.