The new middle school will remain similar in design, but superintendent Quin Sutton said the district used the opportunity to make a few changes.
“The basic design is the same,” Sutton said. “We did not have a concession stand here before. The layout is the same, but we made a few things more user-friendly.”
The changes are noticeable coming through the front doors, with a higher ceiling in the entry foyer and a concession stand to the right of the gymnasium. Inside the gym, a purple lion had replaced the school letter on the gym floor.
While the floor is new, the stage and bleachers were salvaged from the old building.
The district was able to include an additional classroom at the back of the gymnasium, taking out a wall and turning two storage rooms into what will be used as a special needs class.
New energy efficient lighting and a geo-thermal heating system are also a change over the previous building.
Sutton said the front-end cost of the upgrades is expected to be paid off by reduced electricity bills over the course of about 10 years.
Halls are lined with 270 new lockers, while the nine classrooms are equipped with short-throw projectors on each white board.
The need for a new structure became apparent after cracks became visible in the walls and foundation around 2005.
Two rounds of testing in 2006 revealed alkali carbonate reactive, a substance that causes concrete to expand and crack.
The district continued to do frequent safety inspections while classes continued until 2012 when the building was deemed unsafe and demolition began.
In 2007, the Lyon County board of education filed suit against the Federal Materials Company and other companies involved in supplying the concrete.
In 2011, Gov. Steve Beshear signed House Bill 428, allowing the district to plan for a new middle school.
“We had to go to Frankfort many times,” Sutton said. “In 2011, State Rep. Will Coursey sponsored House Bill 428. Basically what the bill did was, the Commonwealth of Kentucky took over bond payments of the old middle school, so it freed up our bonding capacity where we could bond for the new middle school. That bill says that once the litigation is resolved, whatever cost we’re out to litigate, we’ll recoup that first, if we’re successful.
“Whatever is left over will go back to the state to help pay off the bonds for the old middle school.”
Cleaver Construction in Murray was awarded the bid in 2011, and Sutton said the construction was substantially completed by March.
With three months remaining until classes resume, workers are refinishing the parking lot around the school, moving in instructional equipment, landscaping and lettering.
The district will host an open house at the middle school Aug. 4 at 2 p.m. An elementary school open house and freshman orientation will both be held Aug. 5.
Other work on district properties has continued through the summer and is expected to be completed in coming weeks, including roof repairs at the elemntary school and widening of the parking lot.