Construction of three Tyler ISD middle schools is proceeding within budget and on schedule to be finished in time for the schools to open to students in August, according to Tim Loper, director of facilities.
Boulter, Moore and Three Lakes middle schools will have new furniture, the latest technology, security equipment and accommodation for academics, fine arts and athletics.
All three projects are part of a large package of new construction and renovations that Tyler ISD is funding with a $160.5 million bond issue approved by voters in May 2012.
All three middle schools will contain approximately 155,000 square feet and have a maximum capacity for about 1,000 students, Tyler ISD's facilities director, Loper, said. Boulter and Moore are both three stories while Three Lakes is two-story.
"Our contractors are doing a good job watching those budgets, and we meet every week on these campuses with the project managers and architects and everybody involved," Loper said.
"The weather doesn't help us, but it's not going to delay us. These guys will do whatever it takes to make sure that we do open these schools on time."
All of the schools have a varsity gymnasium, a practice gymnasium, weight lifting rooms, seventh- and eighth-grade boys' and girls' locker rooms and physical education rooms.
There are about 50 regular education classrooms per school, as well as a life skills room and a special education room. Each school also has a library/media room.
"Comparably, it's amazing the size of these libraries compared to what they have now. It's unbelievable because they (existing libraries) never met today requirements," Loper said.
The schools all have fine arts accommodations – an orchestra room, band hall, choir and drama rooms and a cafetorium, which has a stage in the cafeteria.
All the schools have a football field and a six-lane running track that includes a long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, discus and shot put. Concession stands are within the building adjacent to the gymnasium with exterior entrances allowing the concessions stands to be open during outside games.
Administration and instructional wings can be blocked off while basketball games and other events are under way.
The buildings are enclosed, self-contained with security measures such as cameras and controlled access, Loper said.
Although computers from the old campuses will be used, the new buildings will be well equipped with the latest technology, such as interactive projectors in every classroom, Loper said.
The new schools have a traditional, almost collegiate look, Loper said, predicting they will last 50 to 75 years.
Demolition of the old facilities for Boulter and Moore is scheduled to start in early June. Equipment, teachers and curriculum as well as salvage of smart boards and electronics will be June 5-6. Asbestos removal will start June 9 and as soon as that is finished, demolition will begin, Loper said.
BOULTER MIDDLE SCHOOL
2926 Garden Valley Road
The new Boulter Middle School is expected to nearly double Boulter's current square footage. The school expects to grow from its current 630 students to as many as 850 students in the fall. The new facility will be built behind the existing school, which will be demolished.
"(Students) are going to receive the same education they are getting now; it's just a new building with additional space. We are in a space crunch right now so we will have the space to accommodate the students and be able to explore more instructional practices," said Boulter Principal Rodney Curry said.
Curry added that the school will continue its initiative in science, technology, engineering and math as well as strengthen its arts programming.
MOORE MST MAGNET SCHOOL
EAST DIVINE STREET
The Moore Math Science Technology Magnet Middle School – which will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year -- will be built on the north side of the existing campus and will have a new entrance facing East Devine Street, instead of South Tipton Avenue. The existing facility will be demolished.
Moore will be the only middle school in Tyler with nine science labs suitable for high school course work.
Principal Claude Lane said the facility will allow the school to continue its record of excellence in academics, fine arts and athletics, through technology upgrades and the addition of a new football field to host football and soccer games, a new track that will keep students from running on roads near the school and a new cafetorium and theater classrooms.
"The sky is the limit on what we can do in the new facility," Lane said.
THREE LAKES MIDDLE SCHOOL
THREE LAKES PARKWAY BEHIND FRESH BY BROOKSHIRES
The new Three Lakes Middle School will bring a new middle school campus to Tyler, drawing students from 11 Tyler ISD schools in southwest Tyler.
The facility will be divided into two main sections with a library connecting them in the middle. One side will house classrooms, while the other will be home to the gym, cafeteria, fine arts and locker rooms on the other.
Three Lakes expects to enroll 750 to 900 students in the first year.
"Taxpayers took a big risk in approving (the bond issue that financed construction of Three Lakes)," said Principal Forrest Kaiser. "We want to honor that by making a place that's truly amazing, so that a year or two after it opens, they can reflect and say we're so glad we did that."
Kaiser has been working with Tyler ISD district personnel on academic, athletic and extracurricular programming at the new school. Officials also have determined the school's mascot will be a gator, and its colors will be purple, gold and green.