PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) It's been one year since Pulaski County leaders broke ground on the new Pulaski County Middle School, determined to get it done by the fall of 2020. So far, they're on track to make that happen.
At the construction site, the beeping of bulldozers backing up and the crunch of gravel beneath tires are the sounds of progress. Excavators, forklifts and dump trucks grind away at the future home of the new Pulaski County Middle School.
"We feel the construction process is going well," Pulaski County Superintendent Dr. Kevin Siers said. "The gym is coming along well and the auditorium is coming along well and there are pieces of the building that you can identify what they are."
Forty-seven million dollars has been allotted for the new middle school that will combine Dublin Middle and Pulaski Middle.
AIR7 flew over the construction site July 15. Behind the buildings, the drone captured the beginning of the three academic wings that will be able to accommodate more than 1,000 students.
"We can add additional classrooms at some point if needed to bring the total capacity up to 1,200," Siers said.
Right now, between Dublin Middle and Pulaski Middle, there are just over 900 students who will be coming to one school next year.
"We have already hired the principal for the new middle school so he is putting teams together," he added.
Teams that will drive along what will be the new entry for the school, the recently named Corporal Lewis Kenneth Bausell Medal of Honor Way.
"It really has just taken off," Siers said. "You can go by everyday and see something new has been done and I think this whole community is just excited for what this will mean for our kids."
Siers explained that middle school students in Dublin and Pulaski have had to deal with aging and deteriorating buildings over the last few decades, which has effected their education. He said there was a decrease in students academic levels in middle school compared to elementary and high school.
"The main difference was the climate. The learning environment that our students were in in the middle school years was having a negative impact on their ability to achieve at higher levels."
At PCMS, they'll have 21st century conveniences, like multiple electrical outlets in the classrooms and air conditioning throughout the building.
"I think it'll be a tremendous boost for their education," Siers said excitedly.
Currently, the county averages five to 10 early dismissals a year due to the heat, so WDBJ7's Katey Roshetko asked jokingly if Siers thought the kids were ready to give up their early dismissals when it's hot outside, since they'll now have climate-controlled classrooms.
"Absolutely" Siers laughed. "I think they'll be more than happy to."
The new school will have a brand new robotics lab which Siers said is unusual for a middle school to have. It'll also have an auditorium with a full lighting system and sound board.
"We have a middle school drama program that will feed into the already very successful drama program at the high school level," he explained.
Behind the school, the new practice football field is starting to take shape. The new gymnasium will be able to hold around 1,200 people. In front and to the right of the gymnasium, crews are making way for the new baseball and softball diamonds.
All of this is just phase one of planning. Dr. Siers said they're also planning to add tennis courts, lights over all the fields and a stadium around the football field, but those elements are a ways away from being funded.
"The whole thing is just exciting from top to bottom," Siers said.
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