The new 40-foot tall walls installed on the south end of Geneseo High School have been turning heads.

The new 40-foot tall walls installed on the south end of Geneseo High School have been turning heads.

“I think people have been amazed to see them as they’ve driven on Ogden. We’ve had people stop and just watch the cranes work,” said Tim Gronski, chief school business officer for the Geneseo School District.

The pre-cast panel walls are part of the fine arts wing under construction at Geneseo High School.

“What’s going up now are actually two different fine arts spaces. At the front of the building is the concert hall and toward the back is the theater,” said Gronski.

Work at the high school is part of the $36.5 million ProjectLEAF construction and renovation project which will see improvements at every school building in the

Geneseo district.

In total, $23.2 million will be spent at the high school alone.

“The goal is to make it feel like a brand new high school,” said Gronski.

The 40-foot walls for the fine arts department are the largest single component pieces for ProjectLEAF.

Crews from Estes Construction, from Davenport, Iowa, have been hard at work at the high school for months but none of the work they’ve done to date has been as

visually impactful as the

new walls.

“The walls have helped show that things are really coming together,” said Gronksi.

The new theater will seat 250 while the concert hall will seat approximately 850. Both spaces will feature balcony seating, and an elevator will be installed to serve those levels.

In addition to the fine arts wing, work on a new high school stadium and bleachers has been progressing.

“Weather permitting, the next big step will be to try and get the home side bleachers in the football stadium installed this winter,” said Gronski.

During Christmas break, Estes Construction crews completed ceiling and lighting work in the hallway south of the main gym.

“We know we’ll have a busy summer of work with a tight timeframe, so we wanted to get as much done before then as we could,” said Gronski.

All of the corridors at the high school will be upgraded with new flooring, ceilings and lighting. All of the lockers also will be replaced.

“To the best of my knowledge, the lockers we have now are original from when the high school was built in the 1960s,” said Gronski. “A lot of them have been beat up from generations of students using them.”

New lockers, paint, flooring, ceilings and lighting will help provide “a big face lift” to the high school.

When construction is finished, the high school will have a new entrance look as well as a remodeled main office area.

The final price for the high school includes $2.5 million in health/life safety work, covering items such as a new roof and updated fire alarm system.

Students and parents already have been taking advantage of a expanded western parking lot at the school, and City of Geneseo crews installed new street lighting along State Street in front of the high school.

In fact, about the only aspect of the high school not being affected by ProjectLEAF work is the school’s original Kewanee Boiler.

“That boiler has kept working at about 85 percent efficiency since the day we bought it. The thing is a workhorse,” said Gronksi.

Construction at the high school is expected to be completed before the start of the fall 2017 semester.