Middle school taking shape

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Construction progressing on new 5-6 school

The outline of what will become Austin’s new fifth- and sixth-grade middle school is coming together.

Construction on the new school is proceeding on schedule, as one of the school’s walls should be finished fairly soon, according to district officials.

“Everything’s right in line and moving along,” said Mark Stotts, Austin Public Schools finance and operations director.

Stotts said the project is on schedule and should be completed by the time the 2013-2014 school year starts.

The work is the culmination of two years of effort by district staff and volunteer parents after a 2009 demographic report found Austin’s student population would increase by as much as 800 to 1,000 students by 2019, based on birth records in Mower County. After a facility space study found seven of the district’s eight school buildings at or over capacity, district officials began including community members in a discussion of what needed to happen for the district to accommodate the incoming students.

A Facilities Task Force came up with the idea for the new intermediate school, which district officials and parents put to voters this past November in a $28.9 million referendum. Since the referendum passed, design plans for the new school, a new principal, and the start of construction have all taken place.

The new building will have 27 classrooms, four science classrooms, two art labs, and three music rooms among other features.

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