The $2.4 million math and science wing renovation at Winona Senior High School will be complete just in time for the start of school. The renovation was funded by a gift of over $3 million from the estate of the late Richard Kolter, former Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) math teacher.
The Math and Science Wing receives a $2.4 million makeover thanks to Dick Kolter’s donation. The project is scheduled to be completed for the start of the school year.
The changes will open up more space in the building, Superintendent Scott Hannon said. Originally there were two hallways, and the renovation added both classroom and storage space, creating a single hallway for the area. “We reclaimed some hall space, so one hallway was used for rooms, and one for storage, and we created a new one,” Hannon said.
The hallways also contain open areas next to the classrooms called break-away spaces. These break-away areas will have couches, a white board, and a flat-screen television mounted on the wall for school project use. “Students will be able to connect their devices to the televisions to share what they’re working on with the other students,” Hannon explained.
The math and science wing overhaul hasn’t been inexpensive, but the administration did try to save money where they could. Last year, wifi was installed in all of the buildings. It was decided that the wiring and wifi units would be carefully removed from the math and science wing so it could be reused once the renovations were completed. “With the false ceilings it’s really easy to get them back in there,” Hannon said.
New supplies and technology will be added to each classroom in the wing to help improve the quality of the education. “Everything is all here; it’s just a matter of getting it all in,” Hannon noted. “We feel very fortunate that we haven’t had any big glitches; it’s been a busy summer here.”
In 2012, the school board voted to devote $2.4 million of Kolter's $3 million donation to the science and math wing renovation and use the rest of the funds to add wireless internet to all school buildings, remodel high school restrooms, upgrade elementary school doors, and purchase new ceiling lights for Madison and Jefferson elementary schools.
Kolter was not only a math teacher, but had also worked as a railroad engineer, owned a trucking company, was a civil defense volunteer, and oversaw the grounds at Westfield Golf Course. His true passion, however, was clearly teaching Winona’s youth, who will benefit from his generosity.