Delta Middle School students settled comfortably beneath the trees in the open grassy space just south of the seventh-eighth grade wing for a groundbreaking ceremony Monday afternoon. This spot will soon be fenced off, as the sixth grade wing is demolished and a new two-story structure begins to take shape.
Monday's groundbreaking ceremony included an introduction of school board superintendent Caryn Gibson, assistant superintendent Kurt Clay, and school board members Pete Blair, Jan Tuin, Richard Hypio, Jill Jurca and Ron Germann. Tammy Smith, a former school board member, was also instrumental in the decision to move forward with what Gibson called a "21st century learning environment."
Bob Brashears of Reilly Johnson Architecture was also on hand, jokingly promising students he designed the building to raise grades and make classes easier. He said the building will be filled with cool spaces and an abundance of natural light.
Kissner GC is the general contractor; Austin Civil Group provided civil engineering for the project. John McHugh, the school district's facilities supervisor, has been involved in the project from the get-go, and was instrumental in obtaining the BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant that will cover the bulk of construction costs.
Gibson said the two-story building will include new safety entrances, a security system, six classrooms, bandroom, choir room, cafeteria, kitchen, media center and offices, as well as up-to-date technology and flexible furnishings that will allow teachers to set up their classrooms for tailor-made lessons and activities.
Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students have been involved in interior and exterior design of the school, to give them ownership and provide hands-on learning opportunities. They presented their findings during a slide show at the conclusion of sixth grade orientation Monday night.
The eighth graders envision an amphitheater built into the hill to the east of the football field. An outdoor learning area would include native trees and plants, water features, a fix-it bike station, weather station, greenhouse, grow boxes and renewable solar and wind energy.
DMS math students worked through a real-life arithmetic problem by calculating the square footage of the new parking area and parent drop-off lanes. They determined how much dirt would have to be removed and how many truckloads would be needed to get the job done. They learned about fill requirements for both asphalt and concrete, then calculated how many cubic yards of each type of fill would be required. The cost of material and labor for both concrete and asphalt was placed side by side with pros and cons for both surface types. While concrete is initially more expensive, most teams recognized the long life and durability of cement. Other students argued that asphalt is considerably less expensive. All pointed out that their cost estimates did not include striping, signage or sealers.