By Tia Lynn Ivey
The last piece of the $47.5 million new consolidated school campus is nearly halfway done. The new Morgan County Middle School is currently being constructed beside the newly finished Morgan County High School, College and Career Academy, and Transportation Facility.
According to the project manager for Parrish Construction, Alex Johnson, the new middle school is 42 percent of the way complete.
Heavy rains had delayed constructions, but Superintendent Dr. James Woodard is pleased with the pace.
“We are pleased with the progress of the construction of the new middle school,” said Dr. Woodard. “While rain slowed down the progress last winter, the construction has been making up for lost time.”
The school system broke ground in December of 2018. Since then, the site, which used to be the old high school, has been transformed. The frame of the new middle school has been erected, giving the public the first glimpse into how the middle school will look once completed.
In the coming weeks, construction crews will be Grading for sidewalks and permanent fencing areas forming and pouring sidewalks, grouting columns, staging windows, erecting interior and exterior walls, and installing electrical and plumbing. .
According to school officials, the new middle school will “provide an exemplary learning environment that is developmentally responsive to the academic and personal growth of all students.”
“It’s been wonderful—the willingness of the community to move the middle school from its current location to provide a unified campus for all schools,” said Dr. Woodard last year at the groundbreaking.
Originally, the new consolidated campus was projected to cost $46 million. Unexpected cost emerged earlier this year. The Morgan County Board of Education approved another $1.3 million in expenditures related to the new schools project April. This brings the total cost to nearly $47.5 million.
““This amendment addresses changes to high school and middle school as a result of addressing needs identified through the construction process. Many of the items are enhancements to the buildings,” explained Woodard in April.
The additional costs will pay for upgrades to flooring, carpeting, handrails, technology, electrical work, and road work.
To pay for the additional costs, the One Morgan Campaign, headed by Kathryn Cardwell, has been fundraising for new school construction project and has raised over $1 million.
“The efforts of the One Morgan campaign has provided enhancements and additions beyond the basic project,” said Woodard. We are so grateful to our community for investing in our school system,” said Woodard.
“Morgan County has a history of seeking innovation in education, and these new schools will help prepare our students to be successful in the classroom and in their future careers,” said Cardwell. “Project-based learning and classes which teach about different kinds of careers will create engaged students, and will help create a well-educated community. All of us are fortunate to be raising and educating our students in Morgan County.”