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New Emmetsburg Middle School Opens

By Staff | Jan 8, 2009

CHECKING THINGS OUT - The new Middle School opened its doors to the public during an open house on Monday. Mitch Mueller, Information Technology technician for the district, showed his mother, Sharon Mueller, around the new classrooms. -- Lori Hall photo

The long awaited moment finally came on Monday afternoon, Jan. 5, when the doors to the new Emmetsburg Middle School were officially opened to the public.

After nearly 18 months of construction, classes moved from the old Middle School building on Palmer Street to the new location north of the High School on King Street. The first official day of school at the new Middle School was Tuesday, Jan. 6.

“The kids have done a great job adapting to the change,” said 5-12 Principal Jay Jurrens. “I think the open house really helped them to adjust.”

Jurrens added that all but 17 Middle School students were in attendance at Monday’s open house. The day provided an opportunity for the students to move their belongings into their new lockers.

Kay Kibbie, science instructor at the Middle School, remarked on the ease of the transition from the old school to the new. She cited not only the helpfulness of the custodians, administration, and staff in making a smooth transition, but the students, as well.

GETTING ACQUAINTED - Kindra Marges and Olivia Hampe learned their locker numbers from Rhonda Granholt, school secretary. -- Jane Whitmore photo

“It has been a great transition,” said Kibbie. “I can’t stress how helpful the students have been. They literally helped to move the boxes from the Middle School to the trailers in a few hours.”

Students assisted in packing and moving classroom items on Dec. 18, prior to the Christmas break.

“We were glad to see everyone who came out to tour the new Middle School on Monday,” said 5-12 Principal Jay Jurrens, who noted that community support on the school construction and opening has been overwhelming.

“I kept hearing positive comments from the public,” Jurrens added. “There were some who stated that, while they had thought the old Middle School building was just fine, they didn’t realize what a new school could be like until they came to the open house.”

The new Middle School features 13 classrooms as well as space for office staff.

Dave Ballman, Middle School instrumental music instructor was appreciative that so many took an interest in the new building.

“Community support is what made it possible. We had a steady stream of visitors for the entire six hours. I felt the entire community was taking pride in the new building,” Ballman said.

“It was nice to see the community tour the building and appreciate the results just as we have,” Kay Kibbie agreed. “We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful community to see this project through. It will be so exciting to see the end result with the completion of the gym in a month and the auditorium next fall.”

The new 350-seat practice gymnasium is scheduled for completion within a month, opening by Feb. 1. Construction on the new auditorium, which will seat 600, is slated for completion by Aug. 1.

The cost for the entire project is $7,653,075, which is being funded by a bond referendum that passed with just over 63 percent voter approval in October 2006.

The old Middle School, constructed in 1930, is currently up for sale. The Board of Education approved plans to heat the structure for up to two years in order to keep it in good condition, and then maintain it for an additional two years, unheated. If the old Middle School is not sold in that time, the district will see that the building does not become an eyesore, and will be responsible for its demolition.