Students and families are getting their first look at the inside of the new Daviess County Middle School this week, and classes will begin in the new building on October 17. The modern design and unique features give the facility an almost college campus feel, with an uncovered 45,750-square-foot courtyard surrounded by the four main corridors of the building.
District officials on Monday got a tour of the school, located at 3901 Fairview Drive.
“It’s been 5 years in the making, and I’m incredibly excited,” Daviess County Public Schools Superintendent Matt Robbins said. “Today is a day that we’ve dreamed about. Obviously we’ve got more to come. But we’re really excited for parents and students to be able to begin to see the building. It’s a feeling of exhilaration, no question.”
The building was supposed to be ready by the start of the school year but construction issues caused a delay. Classrooms have now been largely outfitted and are nearly ready, though there are some finishing touches that need to be made to the rest of the building.
“Teachers have had an opportunity to get in the building,” Robbins said. “I know their goal is to get that done before Fall Break (next week) so they can enjoy their week. But we’re in good shape now to have students here on Monday, October 17. All the significant stuff in terms of heating and air, electrical, plumbing, all those things are finished now.”
Robbins is especially proud of the layout. The front of the school will face the Fairview Drive extension.
The gym will be the center of focus along the front of the building. Just to the right of the gym is the main entrance and front office, along with other staff offices and a 5,308-square-foot media center/library. To the left of the gym is a 6,200-square-foot cafeteria along with the kitchen.
The other three corridors share identical layouts, with one each dedicated to 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Each corridor has nine classrooms, two science labs, computer labs, and restrooms.
Each corridor also features a storm shelter that can hold every student in that corridor (meaning up to 300 students each). The shelter areas are concrete reinforced and can survive up to 290-mile-per-hour winds. They also contain a door that leads directly outside so that anyone will be able to exit even if the other three sides are blocked by debris.
The building also features an orchestra room in the back right corner, along with an art studio and a digital arts room in the back left corner.
The corridors surround the courtyard, which will feature sections of artificial turf and berms that will allow for outside seating.
“The courtyard is probably the centerpiece that’s most noticeable,” Robbins said. “It kind of gives us a college campus-type feel to the building. Beyond that, the gymnasium, the cafeteria, and the concrete finished floors are a unique feature to the building. Then the vaulted ceilings down the hallways really allow a lot of light to enter the building and make it a bright, attractive place for kids to learn and for teachers to work.”
Robbins said another major upgrade over the old DCMS is the parent line for dropping off and picking up students. While the only entrance/exit is off Fairview Drive, the parent line will wrap all the way around the building. There will also be a separate loop for buses.
“If you go to the old school now during dismissal time, we have cars that are backed out onto Highway 60,” Robbins said. “Now, we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope that we have a long enough parent line area so we won’t have cars out onto the main roads.”
DCMS parents and students will have the opportunity to visit the facility and participate in family pep rallies and open house nights hosted by grade Tuesday-Thursday this week. There will also be an open house for anyone in the community to visit the facility from 1-4 p.m. on October 23.