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Photos: Construction continues at HHS

Shown from the outside, this area of new construction will include the new main entrance, the media center and offices, and more at Hudson High School. 1 / 7
A classroom and hallway are shown in the new classroom addition at Hudson High School. 2 / 7
The newly-renovated band room is already in use by the Hudson High School band students. 3 / 7
Workers continue to construct the new media center. 4 / 7
The area shown will hold lockers. If needed in the future, this area could also be converted to more classroom space. 5 / 7
Shown are areas where locker bays will be installed, and a walkway over the locker bay area. Two such "bridges" exist in the area. 6 / 7
Workers continue construction on what will be part of the gym area at Hudson High School, visible from what will be the indoor track. Gretta Stark / RiverTown Multimedia. 7 / 7

Renovations at Hudson High School are "exceeding expectations," according to district Superintendent Nick Ouellette.

"The kids have been outstandingly accommodating," he said. "The staff has been very accommodating. The workers have been very gracious and very helpful through the project.

"It's going as well as we could expect when you're trying to do this level of construction while you're keeping 2,100 people going to school and work in the same building."

Assistant Director of Community Relations Tracy Habisch-Ahlin said the students are happy with renovations so far.

"I think the kids have been very excited to not only watch the progress," Habisch-Ahlin said, "but when they've been able to move into new space and be able to use those new spaces."

The designs for the renovated high school include an emphasis on natural light, Habisch-Ahlin said, as research shows more light during the day helps students learn. The design also opens up spaces and offers different ways for students to learn - in larger and smaller groups inside the classroom, as well as just outside of the classroom.

The designs also focused on flexibility in more than one way.

"Not only flexibility for future growth, if that were to happen," Habisch-Ahlin said, "but also flexibility in how our classrooms could be used so that you can set up a classroom for small groups to work, or classrooms where multiple groups can come together in a space."

Space is also being designed for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) classes.

"Really opening up our area where our tech ed classes are and allowing more people to see those classes," she said, "and see what engineering actually looks like and hopefully increase interest in those areas."

Areas under construction now include:

• The high school forum area, which will combine the commons and cafeteria. It includes two projection screens and can be filled with chairs. It could serve as auditorium overflow, or separate showings.

• A new media center with small meeting rooms/study areas for students, and a larger meeting area that would be accessible for public use outside of the school day.

• A new office area and secure entrance.

• A second floor walkway between the media center and new classrooms and a first floor locker bay.

• A two-floor addition with new classrooms designed for flexible use. The classrooms will have glass doorways and windows so that students can work in small groups outside of the classroom and still be supervised by a teacher within the classroom. The hallway will include comfortable seating and wood from the old beachers has been incorporated into the design. Some classrooms in the new addition can be partitioned off into two rooms or combined for team-teaching.

• "Collaboration areas" with skylights.

• Outdoor courtyards.

• A STEM commons area near the Technical Education Department.

• The auditorium has already been renovated.

• The Fitness Center is being renovated and will include a new gym area, fitness room, and indoor track which will be used for practices and will be available for community use. It will have windows so that those using it can look outside, as well as windows into the gym.

The construction will be mostly complete, with only a few items remaining, by the time school opens after an extended summer break in the fall.

Habisch-Ahlin and Ouellette both said they are excited to see and share the renovations with the public.

"We're pretty fortunate," Ouellette said, "thankful the taxpayers approved it and we're excited to show them what they're going to get for their money here in a a few months."

See more online at

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

(651) 301-7849