Construction scheduled for Omaha high school addition
Construction is expected to start soon on a new addition for Omaha Central High School that boosters said will retain the historic downtown building’s charm while providing more space for music, art and a state-of-the-art library.
The public-private project was unveiled for the first time in July 2015. Now with fundraising from private donors wrapping up, the project received approval from the city commission in charge of historic preservation. Officials are now preparing to hire a construction firm and break ground this summer, the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/2nRqcQp ) reported.
The addition will add about 50,000 square feet to the school, which struggles with crowding due to its nearly 2,500 students. An additional existing 25,000 square feet will be repurposed for programs serving special education students and English language learners.
The addition is estimated to cost $20 million to $22 million. Split between private donors and Omaha Public Schools, the district’s share could amount to $4 million to $5 million that would come out of its site and building fund.
The expansion will house a new library, a black box theater, visual and performing arts, instrumental and vocal music and drama classes.
"For those who have never been in the band room or the choir space, this is a much-needed and very exciting opportunity, as well as an opportunity to open up spaces not adequate for students we’re trying to serve," school board member Lou Ann Goding said at a February meeting.
Construction is expected to be completed by winter 2018.
"We’re grateful the (Central High School) foundation is in a position to do this for our students," foundation director Michele Roberts said. "This appreciates the past while moving toward the future."