The renovation and expansion of Riverside-Brookfield High School is just about finished. This week workers are installing new carpet in the auditorium; when that is done the $62 million project will be essentially complete.

To celebrate the end of almost three years of intensive work, RB is inviting the community to a formal ribbon-cutting event on Sunday, March 21 at 3 p.m. The date was chosen because it was on March 21, 2006 that voters approved a referendum issuing nearly $59 million in bonds to pay for the project.

At the ribbon cutting a time capsule will be filled with artifacts commemorating the renovation effort. The time capsule will be placed behind a wall near the new main entrance at the northwest corner of the campus.

A new school alma mater song, with music written by RB music teacher and 2003 RB graduate James Baum and lyrics written by senior class members Halley Buntrock, Molly Chaney and Maggie McLaughlin will be performed in public for the first time.

The Bill Lehotsky room will be formally dedicated. The room, a curved meeting room above the main entrance, will be named in honor of Lehotsky, a beloved former assistant principal at RB who retired in 2004 and died in 2008.

“It’s a room with high visibility, a comfortable room, everything that Bill would have liked,” said Betty Sharp, assistant to the principal at RB.

The renovation and expansion work at RB began in the summer of 2006 with the installation of a new artificial turf at the RB football stadium. Work began in earnest on the building in the summer of 2007.

The renovation added 112,620 square feet to RB bring the size of the building to 407,075 square feet. Twelve new science classrooms, all incorporating lab space, were built.

Included in the project was the construction of a new swimming pool and a new field house with three full basketball/volleyball courts and a jogging track. New double-pane windows were installed throughout the building and RB’s antiquated heating system was replaced along with its electrical system. New state-of-the-art boilers were installed and RB put in central air conditioning throughout the building.

The interior of RB has been transformed. What had been narrow and dark hallways are now wide, airy and full of light.

Students notice and appreciate the difference.

Kate Walsh, an RB junior from Riverside, is on the swim team. She loves the new pool.

“It’s really nice,” Walsh said. “We can have a lot more room for practicing. The divers can go at the same time as the swimmers. The facilities are great, and the locker rooms are nice.”

Walsh, who is taking physics this year, also likes the new science classrooms.

“The nice part about it is that every classroom now is a lab,” Walsh said. “We do experiments, I don’t know, twice a week probably. When I was in chemistry last year we did them every few weeks, maybe.”