- Michael D. Clark Staff Writer
In less than a year Middletown Middle School will go from the oldest school in Butler County to the newest.
Warren G. Harding was president of the United States when the doors of the old Middletown High School were first opened to students in 1923.
In the early 1970s the old school was converted into a middle school for the Butler County district, and at the end of the current school year, the final class bell will be the last to ring forever at the school campus at 1415 Girard Ave.
Starting in August 2018 the city’s middle school students will be the first class to learn in the new 135,000-square-foot middle school which will be attached to an equally new, 2,200-seat arena joined to a renovated Middletown High School.
Plans for commemorating the old school building are already on their way, with special ceremonies scheduled in December to say a formal goodbye to the basketball court that saw the legendary NBA Hall Of Famer Jerry Lucas, Butch and Chris Carter, Archie Aldridge and so many other notable players compete.
Current plans call for the old school to be demolished, said school district officials.
“While we might be saying goodbye to a building that certainly means a lot to the entire community, we are not saying goodbye to the history, successes, traditions, and memories created at the (old school),” said Middletown Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr.
“Honoring our rich traditions will help make the transition to the new state-of-the-art building more special for our students, teachers, and community. The new Middletown Middle School building will provide our students the opportunity to continue to build on the rich culture of success laid by previous alumni,” said Styles.
George Long, business manager for the city schools, said students will be taking a classroom leap of 94 years when they enter the radically modernized Middle School at the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
“There are approximately 50 learning spaces in the new building, not including the breakout (learning) spaces in each wing. What’s great about the new Middle School is we’re building extra wide hallways and utilizing them as classrooms outside the classroom,” said Long. “We don’t want to keep students at their desks when they can meet in the middle to collaborate and explore new learning tools.”
It will be a busy weekend of Dec. 8 because on that Friday the district will say goodbye to the Miller Gym at the Middletown Middle School and on Saturday they will herald in a new era at the High School Arena.
On December 8, the Middies will host the Hamilton Big Blue in the Miller Gym along with Middie Legends, throwback jerseys, and dedicated fans. On December 9, the Middies will welcome Lima Senior High School and the Middie Faithful to the brand new Middletown High School Arena.
“The excitement around the new Middletown High School and Middle School is palpable around this town and I am excited to finally share one part of the new construction with our district,” said Styles.
“In December, Middletown Schools will honor our past in Miller Gym, but look to the future when we open the new arena doors.”