If you haven't been in Beaty-Warren Middle School in several years, you're not likely to recognize it now.
That's because a $16 million renovation is in its final stages, with all teachers expected to be in their permanent classrooms by Feb. 14.
"We are excited to see the end of the construction phase and the beginning of total building occupation," said Ruth Nelson, interim director of pupil services for the Warren County School District. "I think the community is going to be very pleased when they see the learning environment and opportunities that the new Beaty offers."
Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton
Ready to cook
Among the renovations at BWMS is the family/consumer science lab.
During Christmas vacation, two sixth grade classes were moved to renovated rooms, music was moved to the new band room and carpeting and flooring were laid.
The gym was completed prior to Christmas and Clerk of the Works Jay Myers said that the sound tiles on the wall were repurposed from the Eisenhower project.
He also highlighted the handicapped accessibility of the renovated school, with compliant restrooms, access to the building and stage, as well as a handicap accessible family/consumer science work station.
Currently, work continues in the library and flooring, painting and carpeting continue in the final weeks of the project.
Classes that have not moved into permanent spaces will commence doing so the week of Feb. 3 in advance of the Feb. 14 date for all to be moved in.
"There's still a lot to do but it's exciting to see it come together at this point," said Nelson.
She specifically highlighted the architectural elements throughout the building that have been maintained to preserve the historical nature of the building. Referencing the ceiling in the library, she said "they could have destroyed that and they didn't."
When asked if the construction process has been easier or more difficult than she expected, Principal Rhonda Decker said that she "didn't expect to get so much support." She praised maintenance staff and others who have ensured that the building's needs are met throughout this process. "Students have not really been affected in their education," she said.
Nelson added that the "staff has been so flexible and worked (well) together."
"(The) staff has really gone above and beyond to make this work and it has worked," said Decker. "The kids have watched it unfold. (They) take a lot of pride in (the) school."
Nelson pointed out that this year was the first at Beaty for current sixth and seventh graders but either graders have been at Beaty "through the entire process." She said that enhances their ownership in the school.
A community open house is being planned but will not take place until after state assessments in the spring.