(Editor's note: This story has been update to corrected the expected completion date for the work.)
Work on Bradford High School’s planetarium, saved last fall from demolition, is expected to be completed next year.
The work is part of a $30 million multi-phase project that includes renovation and energy-efficiency upgrades at the campus.
The $130,000 planetarium project includes tuck-pointing and metal flashing replacement along with new windows and wall panels, LED lighting, heating ventilation and air conditioning and flooring. It is expected to be completed by September 2020, according to Patrick Finnemore, Kenosha Unified School District facilities director.
“It will get new flooring, new windows in the area that connects the school to the planetarium, a new exterior door and a new (water-resistant) coating for the roof,” he said. “It’s all infrastructural. ... Everything in that space is basically the original materials. So, it’s a complete refurbishing.”
To address how the facility can be revitalized and maximized, an ad hoc committee was formed. In turn, subcommittees have been created to address programming and fundraising.
Bradford physics teacher Jason Standish, who led an effort to save the facility from the wrecking ball, has been presenting Saturday morning programs three or four times a month in the planetarium.
He has been working with the education subcommittee to generate ideas for future programs and for ways to enhance programming through the use of free software that can be applied with live lectures, training for Standish, attracting guest speakers and engaging students who may want to assist.
Brian Schwartz, a Carthage College physics and nuclear atomics professor who chairs the subcommittee, said he’s optimistic about the planetarium’s future.
“We’ve got a group of really neat people who want to dedicate their time to making this work,” he said.
The Bradford project includes roof replacement in various sections, new entry vestibules and new plumbing fixtures.
Other overhauls include a new fire protection sprinkler system, alarm system, exterior work, renovation of the restrooms and the commons area.
Underway is the overhaul of Bradford’s main entrance and staff entrances, which began April 1.
“Basically, the (larger) scope for the work is a new heating, ventilating air conditioning system, and a number of others,” Finnemore said. “We’re in the throes of the project already.”
The renovations at Bradford are part of a much larger $85 million, multi-phase capital improvement project that encompasses building updates at Bullen and Lance middle schools, as well as Tremper and Indian Trail high schools.