More than 1,600 students are expected to walk through the doors of the replacement E.T. Booth Middle School this upcoming school year, and they will have access to impressive technology and lab rooms.
On Thursday morning, Cherokee County School District officials came to tour the new facility and heard from several employees of E.T. Booth Middle School.
Principal Dawn Weinbaum said she was honored with the opportunity that comes with the new building and thanked Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo and the school board.
“It is state-of-the-art; it is amazing,” Weinbaum said. “This facility will enable us to better prepare and better enable students.”
Students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade will attend school at the new 223,856-square-foot building, built to replace the 32-year-old previous E.T. Booth Middle School.
Assistant Superintendent for Accountability, Technology and Strategic Planning Bobby Blount said the new building is equipped with about 600 student desktop computers and 1,100 student laptops.
“Every classroom will have the standard five desktop computers. In addition, every classroom will get a 16-station laptop cart,” Blount said. “Every class is equipped with an interactive white board.”
Blount said each classroom has a wireless Internet access point, and teachers can access television channels on the computers. There are five computer labs with 32 computer stations each. One lab is in a fully-loaded media center.
“What we’re trying to do with the media center, is we’re trying to create more of a 21st-century atmosphere,” Blount said. “We’ve got cafe tables to make it a little more dynamic, so that kids can interact and be a little bit more relaxed in here with all the great materials they’ll have.”
Blount said there are multiple collaboration areas in the media center; one is a full computer lab, one will have flat screens for students to connect their laptop and share their screen, and another has comfortable furniture for students.
The standard classroom size is 750 square feet, and some rooms, like labs, are 1,000 to 1,200 square feet or larger. Science labs have storage closets and chemical storage ability, an upgrade from the previous building’s capacity.
The chorus and band rooms have walls and ceilings made from acoustic materials.
“This room is three times the size of the other chorus room,” Weinbaum said. “It is designed for sound.”
The band room has multiple practice rooms, a water fountain and a room for cleaning instruments.
“Not only is it beautiful, it’s much larger,” Weinbaum said.
The 1,400-square-foot art lab and has more storage space, as well as a storage closet and kiln room.
The cafeteria has a capacity for 1,083 students and has four serving lanes. Deputy Superintendent for School Operations, Programs and Support Dr. Brian Hightower said the old E.T. Booth cafeteria could fit in half the space of the new cafeteria.
“We’re just thrilled,” Hightower said. “(The building was completed) on time and under budget.”
There is a school store and a gym area equipped with two locker rooms for girls and boys and a concession stand.
“We thank Dr. Petruzielo and the board for this opportunity,” Weinbaum said. “We’re excited for the new year.”
School board members Patsy Jordan and Rick Steiner attended the walk-through, as well as Board Chair Janet Read and Director for Public Information, Communications and Partnerships Barbara Jacoby.
On July 25 there will be a community night, drop-in-style event, for the public to take self-guided tours from 6 to 8 p.m. Bricks from the old E.T. Booth Middle School will be available at the event for members of the community who might want to take home a piece of the old school.
The walk-through and open house for parents, students and staff will be Aug. 2. The walk-through and open house for sixth grade is from 8:30 to 10 a.m., seventh grade is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and eighth grade is from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
The first day of school is Aug. 5, and classes are from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.