BEST grant awarded for DMS construction

By Pat Sunderland


Delta County Joint School District #50 has received preliminary notice of a $10 million BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant to be used for replacement of the sixth grade wing and the cafeteria at Delta Middle School. Other improvements are geared toward student and staff safety.

The school district will provide a match of just over $3 million.

During the next school year, school superintendent Caryn Gibson says the bandroom area in the Performing Arts Center will be remodeled to temporarily accommodate the sixth graders. At the same time, the school district will finalize architectural designs and begin the bid process for construction.

In the 2018-19 school year, the sixth graders will be moved. The existing sixth grade wing will be demolished and construction and remodeling will begin. The target date for occupancy will be the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

The project includes construction of new sixth grade classrooms, two special education classrooms with a shared restroom, a spacious music room with a divider, a locker room for band instruments and a replacement cafeteria that will connect to the main building.

The sixth grade wing was built in 1965; the stand-alone kitchen/cafeteria was erected a year later.

Safety improvements include campuswide replacement of fire alarms and intercoms, science lab hoods, security doors and new dropoff points for students. The gym will see new doors, lighting, restrooms, handicap ramps and more secure access.

The goal is to bring the whole building together, to eliminate the need for students to cross campus to get to the cafeteria or the band room.

Established by the state legislature in 2008, BEST funds can be used for the construction of new schools as well as general construction and renovation of existing school facility systems and structures.