PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ7)— On Monday, Pulaski County school board officials got a chance to tour the brand new middle school that has made tremendous progress along Route 11 in the past few months, and WDBJ7 got a chance to tag along.
The school sits on a property just over 50 acres and Superintendent Kevin Siers said it is equivalent to the size of Blacksburg High School. It is just past the intersection of Hatcher Rd.
“We’re very excited about all of the possibilities that are coming our way and just thrilled with the progress that’s being made here at the middle school,” Siers said.
By next school year, about 950 students from Dublin and Pulaski Middle will be able to call this space their new home.
We started our tour at the front entrance. When you walk in, the main office is off to the right. Just down the hall, you will find the school’s auditorium. Siers said it will feature modern lighting and sound, like most high schools, for the middle school students.
“We are consistently at the top of the state with our drama program so we are excited that now having a middle school program will just make the high school program even stronger,” Siers said. “It’s more than students learning how to act in a play, they develop so many interpersonal skills than they would otherwise.”
The building will also feature a new space for a robotics program with a shared classroom for agriculture and business education. Both facilities will act as labs, and when classroom space is needed, they will have it.
“There’s such a demand for it in the workforce now to have those types of skills when you finish high school or if you go on to college,” Siers said. “It will help feed the programs that we already have in place at the high school.”
Likely the biggest change that students and faculty will notice when they walk through the school halls is the chill of some air conditioning - finally.
“It will create such a positive learning environment for our students to be in. When it’s 85 to 95 degrees in a classroom, students can’t focus, teachers can’t focus, the conditions are very close to being unbearable at times,” Siers said. “This has been an extremely hot fall, we’ve had to dismiss early in October even for heat and hopefully we have had our last early dismissal day for heat in Pulaski County because starting next year we will be in this new building with a great climate control. “
Siers said they had about the same amount of heat days last year, but this year, they have gone much later into the fall. He said there is a ton of community support for the new facility.
In 2017, about two-thirds of people voted for the bond referendum that funded the middle school project. Construction started earlier this year.
Beyond classroom space for the sixth, seventh and eighth graders, they will also receive a gym, auxiliary gym, sports fields for football, baseball, softball and soccer and add new teams to play on these fields to change the middle school experience in Pulaski County.
“So many people are happy to see the building coming together and they’re just proud and excited about what we’re going to be able to offer our students in the future,” Siers said.
Moving forward, the plan is to start moving into the new building at the end of July next year. They plan to have the building completely turned over by the first week of August. Siers said there’s a chance they will have to start the school year after Labor Day to get everything situated for the first day back.
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