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Cloquet schools move forward on renovation projects

Cloquet School Board has approved a re-roofing project for Garfield School and the replacement of a stage lighting structure as a small part of the $1.6 million high school auditorium renovation project.

The lighting structure, otherwise known as a truss, is a support mechanism used to hang stage lights from and would light the area over the new stage extension, said John Justad, owner of 20/20 Theatrical and consultant to the school district during auditorium renovations.

"We are basically replacing something that was there. This is not something that is just new to this project. We had a lighting pipe over the auditorium," Justad said, "it was very dangerous to get up there."

The new truss, however, would be able to be manually lowered to the ground for any maintenance, he said.

When the board solicited contract bids through Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. last fall for the auditorium project, the truss was an alternate bid, said Superintendent Michael Cary, meaning the board could decide whether or not they wanted to add the project to the renovation, depending on the bid price.

"We didn't love the design and we didn't love the price of it," Cary said during the board meeting Monday, March 11. "So we felt we could do better on both."

The new truss design does both. The estimated cost is about $20,000 less than the lowest bid received in October, and the design will add a structural membrane to the ceiling to help strengthen the building, Justad said, without interfering with the audience's line of sight.

April 1 is the target date for completing the auditorium renovations, which has been under construction and out of commission since December. There's a chance the new lighting might not yet be available for the spring play, but Cary said they are hoping to get it in as soon as possible, though the board still has yet to decide who will install the structure.

As for the Garfield School re-roofing project, the board approved the recommendation from Kraus-Anderson to hire Jamar Co. of Duluth for a bid of $374,400. Included in that recommendation was Bedrock Flint Inc.'s $5,583 masonry work bid.

Cary said building leaks, especially over the gymnasium, have prompted the need for a new roof.

The re-roofing project is expected to take place from June to mid-August.

Andee Erickson

Andee Erickson has been a reporter with the Pine Journal since November 2018. She studied journalism and geography at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, while working at the Leader-Telegram newspaper on weekends. She graduated in 2018. Erickson's from southern Minnesota, but started viewing the north as home after interning for the Duluth News Tribune in the summer of 2017. 

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