Middletown’s most watched construction project is taking shape.
The $96 million transformation of the Middletown High School campus is eyeballed daily by motorists on the Butler County city’s busy North Breiel Blvd.
What they are seeing is the biggest construction project in the city schools’ history.
A new Middletown Middle School is rising along the campus’ southern border and a large new arena is also being built that will connect to the adjacent high school, which is undergoing a massive renovation.
“Transition is the keyword as Middletown School’s construction project approaches spring,” said Destini Burns, spokeswoman for the 6,400-student school district.
The project, which district officials said is on schedule, is projected to be completed by start of the 2018-2019 school year.
“The momentum of this project, from seeing freshly paved dirt to physical structures being erected right before our eyes is breathtaking. This project embodies the directions our district is going — forward and up — and we believe when completed will be the catalyst to inspire, unite and transform our students, staff and community,” Burns said.
Students and staff won’t have to wait until late summer 2018 to begin using some of the new structures.
“At the start of next school year (2017-2018), we will have six of the new science labs and 20 newly renovated classrooms ready for use,” Burns said. For athletics and physical education classes, the Paul Walker Gym will be available at the start of the year and the new Wade E. Miller Arena opens shortly after in December.
Carmela Cotter, principal of the 47-year-old Middletown High School, works at ground zero of the hectic school campus that daily sees dozens of workers and heavy equipment busy on the construction project.
“We are very excited to have some parts of the project coming on line for this next school year,” said Cotter. “Middletown High School students and staff have been wonderful, flexible and accommodating with very little complaining and really positive attitudes during the awkward, noisy, dusty construction.”
By the fall of 2018, all 10 of Middletown’s school buildings will be new, or newly renovated in a span of 12 years, from 2006 to 2018.
Burns said it will be a busy spring at the campus as the high school’s cafeteria area will be temporarily closed and later teachers will move into newly created classrooms and other learning spaces.
“The kitchen will close around March 1st and hot meals will be served to students until the end of the academic year. The district has decided to close the MHS kitchen early so renovations can be completed and the kitchen will be ready to go by next school year,” she said.
“Both the majority of the (cafeteria) seating areas and the kitchen will be done prior to the start of school. Office staff will begin moving into their temporary locations in April and the new high school office space will be ready in August. Teachers will also begin to transition as the new spaces become available for students,” said Burns.
VIDEO: See the latest from inside and out of the new Middletown High School campus at www.journal-news.com