Local Connections Build Up New Johnston High School

Brick by brick, beam by beam, there’s a whole lot of J-town pride going into the new Johnston High School.

“Through conversations, we realized there are multiple construction crew members with ties to the Johnston Community School District,” said John Peterson, Stahl Construction project manager. “We have alumni, local residents, people who grew up here, even a former board member, now working on the high school. It’s a pretty cool connection.”

Members of Iron Workers 67 did some of the steel work throughout the new high school, as shown in the this picture of the auditorium.

Ralph Young is one of those with a Johnston tie. Young was first a teacher for the district and then served on the JCSD Board of Education from 1999 to 2008. He is now a welding teacher at the Des Moines Public Schools’ Central Campus and works with the Iron Workers Local 67 on the weekends and during the summer.

“I remember when we bought the land for the school and started talking about the growth that was expected,” Young said. “It’s a fulfilling gesture to now be a part of the construction for the new high school. A lot of times, there isn’t that kind of connection to a project.”

Young went on to say that working side by side with former students and current Johnston residents brings a whole new meaning to his work.

“Members of Iron Workers 67 take a lot of pride in working on a local building,” Young said. “We like to be out there, working with each other and helping young people learn the trade. It’s a unique experience to work with former students in this kind of capacity.”

Progress on the new high school continues to move forward. Recently, crews have begun placing the exterior brick on the classroom portions, giving the public its first glimpse of what the new school will look like when finished.

The gymnasium and interior sections of the classroom wings are moving along. Petersen said better weather has been a contributing factor to the progress you can see being made onsite.

A number of crew members have connections to Johnston, making this a truly local project.

“Fighting the rain has been a challenge, but on the days we can, we are able to start early in the day and work until the evening,” said Petersen. “A lot gets done in those hours and it’s all coming together. I think our crew members – especially those with Johnston ties – take a big sense of pride and craftsmanship in the work they are doing here.”

Heading into autumn, the recently-approved $2 million track and turf project will begin. The plan is for the infrastructure, asphalt, and curbs to be completed by fall of 2015. In fall of 2016, the rock and chips will be laid for the field. Striping to the track will be completed in late fall of 2016 or spring of 2017. The track and field area will not be used until students occupy the new high school in August of 2017; all games and meets will continue to be held at the current JHS stadium.

“I hope when people see or visit the new high school, they can learn just how many people from Johnston worked on it,” Young said. “It’s a facility second to none.”

Watch for drone videos and photos posted by Stahl and shared with the district. Follow @StahlCo and @JohnstonCSD for regular updates on the new high school.

Article originally published on the Johnston Community School District website. The full article can be found at: