CANTON — Construction on the new Teasley Middle School is on time for the school to open in August 2014, and the principal said she’s grateful to the school board for making plans to build the new, up-to-date facility.
Teasley Middle School Principal Dr. Susan Zinkil, said the classrooms and hallways will be significantly larger, to accommodate about 1,200 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students next school year.
Construction for the replacement Teasley Middle School will cost $31.6 million, and is funded by Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and State Capital Outlay funding.
“You can’t compare state-of-the-art 27 years ago to state-of-the-art today, so we’re just really excited that the superintendent and the school board put the plans in place so that we could open a new school,” Zinkil said Tuesday.
The new school building is designed by Manley, Spangler and Smith Architects, and utilizes the same prototypical design as the replacement E.T. Booth Middle School, which opened to students this school year, according to School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby.
“If you’ve been in a 27-year-old building, there were of course much smaller groups of students. Now, when we have 860 kids in the hallway it’s hard to maneuver, it’s hard to get into your locker, it’s just significantly different,” Zinkil said. “The current facility we have, we just can’t have sixth grade here which is the model we’re trying to reach across all middle schools in Cherokee County so this new building will allow us to incorporate sixth-graders at our site.”
On Tuesday, Zinkil said Teasley’s seventh- and eighth-grade enrollment had surpassed 850 students, and said around 400 sixth-grade students are expected to join the middle school in 2014.
Zinkil said the technology department has done a “great job trying to keep us as state-of-the-art as possible” at the old building, but said she’s excited to have a media center in the new facility, adding that “it’s going to be similar to the one (at E.T. Booth).”
The E.T. Booth Middle School media center has multiple collaboration areas, including a full computer lab, flat screen TVs for students to connect to their laptops, coffee-shop style and comfortable seating for students.
Jacoby said Tuesday the new Teasley will have “all of the same technology as E.T. Booth.”
During a walkthrough of the new E.T. Booth, which Zinkil attended, the assistant superintendent for Accountability, Technology and Strategic Planning, Bobby Blount, said the café tables and relaxed seating were meant to be a more dynamic area for students to interact.
“What we’re trying to do with the new media center is we’re trying to create more of a 21st century atmosphere,” Blount said.
Zinkil said the technology classes that will be offered at the new Teasley will have more resources, and the new facility will greatly impact students.
“I think it’s definitely going to enhance our academic programs, our accelerated program,” Zinkil said. “Right now we have five elementary schools that feed into us and some of those elementaries are small, so providing a variety of academic and connections activities at an elementary school is more difficult to do, they do a great job.”
Canton STEM Academy, Clayton, Hasty, Knox and R.M. Moore elementary schools feed into Teasley Middle School.
“We’re excited to have the sixth-graders here with us so we can offer more opportunities to them,” Zinkil said.
The new Teasley facility will be 239,750 square feet, and accommodate a capacity of 1,525 students, according to Jacoby.
“The school features 94 classrooms, art and music rooms, media center, computer labs, cafetorium, gymnasium (and a) mechanical mezzanine to allow for the service of equipment without disrupting teaching and learning,” Jacoby said Aug. 3.
In case of a major power outage or disaster, Jacoby said the new facility will also house a Data Recovery Center for the Cherokee County School District Technology Department.
“The biggest differences are the classroom sizes are significantly different, the halls are significantly different,” Zinkil said. “Our P.E. Department, I think they’re going to see a huge change, because the gym we have isn’t air conditioned, during the summer months it gets a little warm in there.”
Zinkil said that she’s happy to be part of a school system that can provide these opportunities for students, and said “we have an exciting year ahead of us.”