Construction begins on $10M Middletown school expansion

Construction work has started on a $10 million expansion project at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Construction work has started on a $10 million expansion project at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Construction has started on a $10 million school campus expansion that Middletown School officials say will help both relieve elementary classroom overcrowding and improve learning spaces.

Middletown school and city officials recently broke ground on the campus of Rosa Park Elementary to begin construction on additional classroom space.

When the new addition is opened in August 2021, officials said the current Rosa Parks Elementary will look radically different.

The school will have 13 additional classrooms, but its current learning spaces will be dramatically remodeled to better accommodate a new instructional approach — Challenge Based Learning (CBL) — the district plans to install there.

Explore MORE: Early planning work on $10M expansion of Middletown’s Rosa Parks School underway

Rosa Parks will then begin to draw enrollment from throughout the 6,400-student district, reducing crowded elementary class sizes throughout the school system.

“We believe the Rosa Parks Elementary expansion project is about bringing the city of Middletown together. Rosa Parks Elementary is at the center of the city … (and) we want our school’s modern addition to be our part of revitalizing and bringing new life to the community’s bright future,” said Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr., referring to the school’s surrounding neighborhoods and beyond.

The Rosa Parks enrollment of 575 students will grow to 800 by the time school starts in 2021.

The CBL learning technique duplicates – in an age-appropriate style – a team project approach toward solving real-world problems using traditional academic subjects. CBL also encourages the development of interactive communication skills, leadership and teamwork that will better prepare students for their work careers as adults.

The $10 million construction plan’s funds are left over from a $86 million project that led to a new middle school and expanded high school, both of which opened in September 2018.

Details on the bigger Rosa Parks’ enrollment process from beyond the school’s adjacent neighborhoods are still to be worked out, said officials.

Elementary schools in Middletown are projected to continue to see enrollment growth in the coming years.

Elizabeth Beadle, spokeswoman for Middletown Schools, said the additional learning spaces will have city-wide impact.

“The Rosa Parks Elementary expansion project means we will no longer have to convert closets to classrooms or provide intervention in a (school) hallway,” said Beadle. “The addition gives all Middletown elementary students the appropriate space to learn and thrive during their time inside our schools.”