FARGO — With school starting next week, construction crews are working quickly complete several projects before the first bell of the year rings.
In just three months, simple plans on a sheet of paper turned into a new front end for Lincoln Elementary. Several new offices were added and upgraded, but the main project is the school's new secure entrance.
"This used to be the office," said Jim Frueh, director of maintenance and operations at Fargo Public Schools, pointing out how the hallway branched off into two directions before visitors walked into their old main office.
Modern secure entryways at schools have two sets of doors. In between them, visitors must check-in at the main office desk before being allowed into the second doorway. Frueh said Lincoln was built more than 50 years ago, so it wasn't originally designed to have such an entryway.
Like many school construction projects, crews at Lincoln had to work during summer break to avoid disrupting classes. However, this summer's weather presented some setbacks.
"When we started digging, we had those big rainfalls," Frueh explained. "That didn't help the construction schedule because they filled with water, we had to pump them out and we had to wait for it to dry."
Workers don't just have to get the construction done, they also have a big moving project ahead of them. Chairs, stoves, refrigerators, cubicles and even vending machines have to be out of the gymnasium in just a couple of days.
They're on schedule to finish the work by the school year, officials said.
While projects at some other schools will continue into the school year, school officials said classrooms won't be affected and that work is on schedule.
In West Fargo, 11 schools are undergoing minor to major construction projects. Many of them are security upgrades.