School district shows off renovated buildings at open houses

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- The Eau Claire School District is showing off two of its buildings after years of hard work.

Monday night Delong Middle School and Prairie Ridge Early Learning Center held their open houses to give the public an idea on how the renovated buildings will foster education for years to come.

It’s been an ever changing couple of years at Delong Middle school for students and staff after voters approved a $24 million referendum for renovations.

“The big reason for the referendum was the building was 40 years old and we really needed to do something to enhance the things that were starting to fail,” Delong Principal Tim O’Reilly said.

O'Reilly says thanks to the flexibility of staff and the hard work of a construction crew the 40 year old building was able to get a complete overhaul.

“The building was really gutted and everything else is new except for the block and brick wall,” O’Reilly said.

“It’s like a brand new school I don't think that anyone would believe it was built in the 70s. When you look inside everything is fresh and new and I think the students appreciate it and take care of it.

Delong wasn't the only big project on the mind of the Eau Claire School District in 2013. A decision to purchase the former Epiphany Lutheran Church and renovate it to an early learning center got its fair share of criticism.

“I think the vision of this building is a full service model and a full service stop for families,” Director of Early Learning Heidi White said.

White says the school district decided it would be best to purchase and renovate the church despite a failed referendum. But when the doors opened this fall she says it was clear the district made the right choice.

“It is really great to walk into the classrooms and see the kids playing and learning is awesome,” White said.

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