Board tours new middle school

An inside tour of progress on the new Monticello Middle School was held Feb. 12, where Monticello School Board members and others got to see areas such as this large collaboration space that leads into classrooms. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Superintendent Brian Jaeger (center) speaks to those attending the middle school tour while standing in the choir room of the old middle school.
School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     A Feb. 12 mini-tour “sneak peek” of the new middle school involved viewing the progress of its construction, but it also touched on potential ideas for what to do with the old middle school once students are out of there for good.

     The tour served as the monthly work session of the Monticello School Board, and board members along with others had their first look at how the building is shaping up.

     “I think you’ll be impressed tonight to see the skeleton of this building,” Superintendent Brian Jaeger said during pre-tour discussion.

     Katie Harms of OPN led the tour of the new building. It included looks at the wide, lengthy corridor that will run from the south end of the high school to the commons area, as well as walk-throughs of the sizeable gym, upstairs and downstairs classrooms and collaboration spaces, administrative offices, and more.

     There were two earlier stops on the tour, the first of which was at the old middle school.

     Before people boarded the bus to head there, Jaeger talked to everyone about some possible uses for parts of the old building.

     “The current middle school is something that the board really needs to be thinking about,” Jaeger said.

     He said there are really only three options: tearing the entire building down, leaving it as is, or “turning it into something else so it would be beneficial to the district.”

     Jaeger added: “I still think there are some areas in that building that are valuable.”

     He displayed a map showing one potential plan, that would involve preserving the gym, locker rooms, band and choir rooms, the loading dock area and adjacent tech and storage rooms, and tearing down the rest.

     Jaeger pitched an idea of knocking down the walls between the choir and band rooms, and creating one large space that would serve as a wrestling room.

     The current wrestling room at the high school would become part of an expanded fitness center, with windows built into the gym wall so that those up in the fitness area could overlook the gym.

     Also preserved at the old middle school would be the loading dock space along with current technology area and storage, which would be opened up to create a larger loading dock and more storage area for maintenance and operations.

     Any such plan would need board approval, and the district plans to commission OPN Architects to engineer and design such changes and come back with pricing.

     The board was presented with a fee proposal from OPN for a feasibility study of the middle school campus and high school fitness center, at a cost to the district of $29,900. The study will be up for approval at the board’s Feb. 26 meeting (see below).

Meeting date changed

     Due to conflicts, the Feb. 24 regular school board meeting has been moved to Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m.


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