MINGO JUNCTION - The time is finally here.
Four years after Indian Creek School District residents approved a $4.95-mill bond levy, the new middle school project is complete.
According to middle school Principal John Belt, the first day of school at the new building, located behind Hills Elementary School in Mingo Junction, will commence on Jan. 9.
PROJECT COMPLETE — Indian Creek Middle School Principal John Belt sat at his desk at the new middle school building last week. Middle school pupils will begin classes at the new school on Jan. 9. The new school is a product of the $4.95-mill bond levy passed by district voters.- Jess Looman
"Staff will continue to unpack their classrooms as well as go through systems trainings, including electronics in the classroom, HVAC system for maintenance and the new security system on Jan. 7 and 8," Belt explained. "The students will then begin classes on Jan. 9."
The new building, which will house sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade pupils for the remainder of the school year, is equipped with all new furniture.
"The building has new computers, furniture and office equipment," he said. "There is a new state-of-the-art science and computer lab. The only thing coming from the old building is the curricular supplies. We started moving the first load of supplies on Nov. 30 and about 95 percent of the supplies are already moved.
"The staff and students at the middle school have been workaholics in getting things packed and moved," Belt continued. "The district maintenance and custodial personnel have been great as well. They have moved everything and the only things we have left to bring to the new building are computer carts, washers and dryers, refrigerators and student records."
The middle school pupils were able to visit the new school on Dec. 19 and were pleasantly surprised, Belt noted.
"We had a move-up field trip and the students were able to transfer the contents of their lockers up," he said. "They also went on a tour of the building. They were wide-eyed and in complete awe of the building. It is like nothing they have seen before."
The grade levels will be split into wings, Belt said. A cafetorium (cafeteria and auditorium) and new gymnasium are part of the perks.
"The gymnasium will seat 540 people and can hold 650 people standing-room only," he explained. "We will also be able to open the cafetorium up into the gymnasium to hold more people for plays and band concerts."
Belt said he also is excited about the new technology and security system.
"The new technology for learning, including Internet access and the number of computers the new building has, is so vastly different and will allow our students to compete on the same playing field as other schools in the area," he stated.
"After Dec. 14 (referring to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut), the new security system is also a big advantage. The current security system at the old building has four cameras and one buzz-in for guests. The new building is equipped with 54 cameras covering everything inside and out. They are motion activated as well. There will be a camera and buzzer system to get into the building and into the secretary's office, and the academic wings will have secure doors as well, if necessary. The building is completely accessible for disabled individuals and meets all OSHA current standards," he said.
Students and faculty alike are excited about the big move.
"This is just an awesome time for the district, and I am very excited," said Mary Ann Edgerly, a library/media personnel for the district. "The building is breathtaking and absolutely gorgeous. The comparison of just the new library itself is crazy. The old building's library is mismatched and just a hodgepodge of sorts. The new building's library is warm and when you walk in you feel welcome and feel at home."
Eighth-grader Sam Robinson said he is excited about finishing his time at the middle school in a new building.
"It is a lot different," he said. "I was nervous I wasn't going to get to go to that building first, but now that I know we are I am very excited. My favorite part is the new gym."
"I am excited about the new opportunities for the teachers, staff and students," Belt stated. "As a parent to a seventh-grader, I am also thrilled for him. The excitement really hasn't set in yet since we have been so busy moving but I am excited."
Belt thanked the voters for helping aide the betterment of the district.
"This is a great building and we really want to thank the voters for their support," he said. "Seeing this building is also a change for residents and a reminder that the district is also in dire need of a new high school. I would hate to see these students go from a palace at the middle school back to the old high school building. We need to offer state-of-the-art facilities to all of our students."