Howard Lake Herald, March 30, 1998

St. James school addition well underway


It's quite a project to tackle, but general contractor Randy Free of Building Alternatives in Clear Lake is used to dealing with large church projects, like the addition to St. James Lutheran School.

In fact, it was not only his status as low bidder, but his references from other churches that got him the job at St. James, he said.

Board members Steve Halverson and Ralph Diers explained some of the details of the new addition.

"We started in 1995, said Halverson, and Free worked all the way through the project with the architect from Station 19 in Minneapolis to make the working drawings for the bids.

They came out with several options and did a needs study for the different church groups that would by using the area, Halvorson said.

As it turned out, Free was low bidder for the job.

The new building will include one new classroom, the gymnasium, the future kitchen area, and a media center. The old building has nine classrooms, and the gym is also the caferteria, said Halverson.

When the new gym is ready, the tables will not have to be removed everyday from the cafeteria to provide space for school activities, he said.

Extra height in the new gym area is made possible by the glued and laminated, arched supports that create a 30 foot peak, said Free, the general contractor.

This makes it nice for volleyball players, since there are no supports that run across the space to interfere with balls, he said.

Said Diers, there is now room for the church to have a fellowship hall in the new gymnasium. The space will have a Tarkette floor instead of maple, so there won't be any concern for damage by street shoes.

It can also be utilized for funeral dinners. Now, those functions take up the cafeteria in the school, and conflict with school activities, said Halverson.

A large area on the east end of the new gym will be roughed in for a future kitchen, Diers explained, and that will be finished at a later date.

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