By John L. Braese
NYSSA – Principal Luke Cleaver had confident news last week about the expansion of Nyssa Middle School.
“We are on budget and on schedule,” he said.
Walls are up in the classroom additions while the new gymnasium is fully enclosed with the roof now on.
Cleaver provided a tour as work continues on the voter-approved project.
“The contractor is working to get everything enclosed before the bad weather hits so just interior work is left to go during the winter,” Cleaver said.
The plan by Beniton Construction, the contractor for the job, calls for all roofing to be done by Thanksgiving.
Painting has started on the interior walls. Ductwork sits ready to be installed.
“We did scale down the size of the gym somewhat,” Cleaver said. “It will still be regulation size, just the out of bounds area will be a bit smaller. We have also downsized some of the classrooms by just a few feet. The gym will have a hardwood flooring and will be great.”
The smaller area was done due to rising construction costs between the time the voters approved the bond and the time construction started. Cleaver also pointed out the new gym can be used as a community gymnasium, not just for school athletics.
“There will be two entry doors we will be able to provide key cards for people wanting to use the gym,” he said. “Bathrooms will be accessible, but the rest of the school will not. Youth teams will be able to use the gym for games and practice.”
Crews were also starting work on expanding the parking lot.
Paving is slated to be completed by the end of October.
Even with rising costs and cutting corners in some areas, Cleaver said the district still expects to get one expansion as part of the project.’
“We have this large awning coming out from the school,” said Cleaver. “Even if the weather is not great, kids can still come outside and stand under here and get some fresh air. It is important, especially in middle school, that kids get outside.”
The Nyssa School District plans to have the school ready for opening day of the new school year, on Aug. 18.
“We will have a few things to finish up,” said Nyssa Superintendent Jana Iverson. “The building will be ready for the kids for the new year.”
Unlike this year, students will now attend all classes under one roof. Currently, students leave the middle school for modular classrooms situated around the campus.
“The new middle school encompasses the space now being used in the modulars and allows for some growth in the district,” Cleaver explained.
The cafeteria, though, isn’t likely to be ready at the opening bell, and Cleaver has plans for that inconvenience.
“We may set up a tent and have kids eat outside for a little bit,” he said. “Other options are to walk over and use the high school cafeteria or bring the food into the classrooms until the cafeteria is finished.” Driving by, Nyssa voters can see the progress made by the $4 million bond approved last May. The state provided an additional $4 million.
The money is being used for an extension to the existing structure, new classrooms and the gym area. The money will also be used for a remodel of the cafeteria area.
After the bond vote, the Nyssa School Board voted to spend $500,000 held in reserves for the new middle school, cutting the borrowing through the bond to $3.5 million.
“We had been setting aside a little bit of money for years for a new middle school,” Iverson said. “The board made the decision to scale back some things and save the taxpayers $500,000 on their tax bills.”
Have a news tip? Contact reporter John L. Braese at [email protected] 541-473-3377.
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