Walls are going up and the new Stanley Middle School is taking shape.
It has been seven months since the groundbreaking ceremony when all that could be seen on the school’s former football field were mounds of dirt and construction equipment. Now, curious passersby can see where the school will be located and envision a modern facility that should be ready for use during the 2017-2018 academic year.
Crews spent the fall months preparing the site for the school building, installing curb and gutter for the adjacent parking lots and vehicle entranceways, clearing trees, moving power and utility lines, and taking care of other details. The site is designed to provide for more parking at the school and the “stacking” of vehicles on campus, which should alleviate typical traffic backups on Hovis Road.
Principal Rebecca Huffstetler said students, teachers, and the community have enjoyed watching the school become a reality, and they are already eager to move in. Before that happens, there is more work to be done. Engineers and contractors are hoping for good weather this spring, which will help to move construction along.
Huffstetler said it has been interesting to see the construction crews in action “in the school’s backyard.” A look out of the classroom windows on the backside of the existing school reveals what is to come for the Stanley community – a contemporary campus that will replace the existing school, which formerly served as the town’s high school and junior high school dating back to the 1940s.
Holding a white board with the date written on it, students have been documenting the progress through a series of pictures taken in front of the construction fence. This idea has really piqued the students’ interest in what is going on just several hundred feet away.
“Once construction is complete, you will see a flip-flop of our campus,” said Huffstetler, who is the current Gaston County Principal of the Year. “The new school will be where our athletic fields used to be and our new athletic fields will be where the existing building is.”
There was enough land available at the existing school site at the corner of Hovis Road and Ralph Handsel Blvd. to situate the new facility at the same location, a rather unique concept that does not require the purchase of land, which saves money.
When students and teachers move into the new school, they will then see the demolition of the old school and the construction of new athletic fields, which should be complete by fall 2018.
The new school is a two-story design of approximately 135,000 square feet with more than 40 classrooms equipped with the latest technology and resources. It will house 800 students and be expandable to 1,000 students to accommodate future population growth. Like any new school, it will have all the amenities, including a modern cafeteria/multiuse space, a state-of-the-art gymnasium for school and community use, and a library/media center that will serve as the heart of learning for the school.
“To think that in less than two years we will have a brand new campus is very exciting,” added Huffstetler. “This new school is going to be a source of great pride for Stanley, and we are looking forward to getting into the building and seeing how the new campus will serve our community for many years to come.”
COMING SOON: We will have an article about our other major construction project – the new Pleasant Ridge Elementary School in west Gastonia.
In compliance with federal law, Gaston County Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the school district's Title IX coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.