Original features of HPS Morton building remain intact after renovations

Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Schneider said the Morton building is a central location to other buildings in the district.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 10:49 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The former Morton Elementary School is now home to Hastings Public School administrative staff — and soon to follow — district preschoolers will also join in on the big move.

At the beginning of July, the district office was transferred to the second floor of the Morton building. The Morton Early Learning Center is expected to open up to young learners this upcoming academic year.

District Superintendent Jeff Schneider said moving their offices into a shared location with students was a step in the right direction.

“It reminds everyone that works at the administration offices of why we’re here every day,” Schneider said. “So, I think having a preschool attached to the administration building is an ideal situation. We’re also central to all our buildings in town now, which is nice.”

While a lot of the building is renovated, they have also kept some of the original pieces of the building intact. Original features include light fixtures on the outside of the front doors, architectural designs engraved in the walls, and wooden cabinets in some of the rooms.

“We just try to keep that type of stuff in the building to keep the historical significance of the build, and then, we try to come in with the new,” said Trent Kelly, HPS director of technology and operations.

Morton Elementary was completed in 1931 and is a sister school to Alcott Elementary.

Superintendent Schneider said they decided to repurpose the nearly century-old building for a reason.

“It made us more efficient as a district in the long run and it just was the building that made the most sense,” Schneider told Local4 News.

Among the renovations are new carpet, a new HVAC system, new paint, new signs in the yards, and new windows.

Even though staff moved in, there are still some finishing touches to be made before the Morton building is complete.

“We’re starting to learn a little bit about what needs to be fixed yet, what needs to be touched up, but all in all, we’re very excited,” Schneider said.

Additionally, Schneider said the district will hold its first board meeting at their new location on Thursday.

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