- Gaston County Schools
Groundbreaking held for new Belmont Middle School
Groundbreaking ceremony held for new Belmont Middle School
Speeches, praise, applause, and the traditional turning of dirt were the ingredients for a successful groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, March 25 to signify the start of construction on the new Belmont Middle School.
Despite rain clouds looming above, more than 100 people gathered at the construction site on South Point Road to celebrate the occasion. The rain held off long enough for school representatives, elected officials, and others to formally break ground for the new campus that will be ready for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker welcomed everyone and introduced special guests, Board of Education chairman Brent Moore and South Point Township representative Justin Davis shared remarks on behalf of the school system, and Belmont Middle principal Susan Redmond provided an overview. Other speakers were county commissioner Ronnie Worley, Belmont mayor Charlie Martin, and George Ragsdale, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Belmont, who offered the “blessing of the land.”
Nicole Allen and Lydia Walker, the Belmont Middle student council president and vice president, led the Pledge of Allegiance. They also served as student greeters along with RJ Berry, Alexander Villarreal, Charles Price, and Rachel Tolbert.
▪ About the new school
The new Belmont Middle School will be located on 78 acres of land just a short distance away from South Point High School. It will replace the current Belmont Middle School located on Central Avenue that is nearly 80 years old.
Beam Construction Company of Cherryville is building the new school, and LS3P Associates is the architect. LS3P also designed the new Stanley Middle School – the new Belmont Middle is similar in design to Stanley Middle School. Beam Construction also built the new Pleasant Ridge Elementary School in Gastonia.
The cost to build the new Belmont school is an estimated $33.54 million, and construction will take about two years. Work began at the site several months ago with the clearing of trees and grading of land. Recently, crews started work on the foundation. The school will begin taking shape in the months ahead as walls go up and the roof is put into place.
The new two-story school will feature more than 155,000 square feet of space and be able to accommodate 1,000 students. The core areas of the school such as the cafeteria and gymnasium will be built to accommodate 1,200 students to plan for future growth.
Other building features include:
▪ a modern library and media center, which will serve as the heart of the school and be located near the main entrance;
▪ a spacious cafeteria with stage area and large gymnasium to allow for a variety of uses;
▪ grades separated by wings, with the sixth grade on the main floor and seventh and eighth grades on the second floor as well as administration areas on each floor;
▪ separate bus and vehicle entrances with more than 200 parking spaces and a pick-up lane that is able to accommodate 100 cars;
▪ maximum use of natural light and energy efficiency throughout the school; and
▪ new athletic facilities including a multipurpose football field with a six-lane track, baseball and softball fields, bleachers, a field house, and equipment storage facility.
Funding for the new school is included in the $250 million school bond referendum that was approved by voters in the May 2018 primary election.
Belmont Middle School is the third new school construction project for Gaston County Schools in the past few years. The others are Pleasant Ridge Elementary School in Gastonia, which opened in August 2017, and Stanley Middle School, which opened in March 2018.
▪ Watch on Channel 21
The Belmont Middle School groundbreaking ceremony was recorded, and it will air on Spectrum Cable Channel 21 the week of April 8-14 at 9:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. each day.