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Belmont Middle holds grand opening celebration

Ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the grand opening of Belmont Middle School

Students, teachers, parents, school officials, and community leaders gathered on Sunday, August 15 for a ceremony to mark the official grand opening of Belmont Middle School.

More than 300 people attended the ribbon-cutting celebration, which featured remarks by school principal Susan Redmond, Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker, Board of Education chairman Jeff K. Ramsey, and other guests.  The event also included self-guided tours of the brand new school.

Superintendent Booker said, “We are extremely excited about the opening of the new Belmont Middle School.  With this new building comes a state-of-the-art environment for quality teaching and learning.  It is a very special place that will inspire great pride and enthusiasm among students, teachers, parents, and the Belmont community for many years to come.” 

The new Belmont Middle School is an investment of approximately $40 million – a construction project paid for through the 2018 school bonds.  The building features more than 40 modern classrooms, various instructional spaces/collaboration rooms, science labs, administrative offices, teacher workrooms, conference rooms, a large cafeteria/multipurpose space, gymnasium, band/chorus rooms, and other areas.  It is designed for 1,000 students with core areas of the school such as the cafeteria and gymnasium built to accommodate 1,200.

Unlike the historic school building on Central Avenue that served the community for eight decades, the new, 78-acre campus has its own athletic fields and plenty of space for parking, buses, and student drop off and pick up.  There are more than 200 parking spaces, and the traffic lane can accommodate 100 cars.  The sports complex includes a multipurpose football field with a six-lane track, baseball and softball fields, bleachers, a field house, and equipment storage facility.  Trees and other vegetation behind the fields create a nice forest-like area where there is enough room for another school campus someday. 

The contemporary, two-story structure is stately in appearance, thanks to the contrasting color of bricks, numerous large windows, and state-of-the-art design that rivals any modern school facility.  The building, which maximizes the use of natural light and is energy efficient, has more than 155,000 square feet of space.  The color scheme provides an inviting look for the school’s interior.  A shade of Kelly green is the primary color found throughout the building with hints of light green and navy blue as accent colors.  Signage throughout the building and graphics featuring historic pictures and inspirational words are eye-catching.    

At the heart of the school is the library/media center with many academic and enrichment resources.  The spacious classrooms are designed to support collaborative teaching and learning.  The desks can be arranged in traditional style when necessary, but most times, they will be placed together so students can work in small groups.  Flat panel screens, oversized whiteboards, instructional technology, and other features transform the classrooms and captivate the students’ attention through highly visual and interactive elements.  Sixth grade and fine arts classrooms are located on the first floor, and seventh grade, eighth grade, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) classrooms are located on the second floor.

Another significant feature is the gymnasium complete with a spacious lobby, locker rooms, concession stand, and weight/wrestling areas.  The gymnasium is a stand-alone space that is connected to the main building by a hallway and outdoor courtyard area.  The design makes the gymnasium conducive for hosting events after hours and on weekends without having to access the entire building.

Belmont Middle School is the third new construction project for Gaston County Schools in the past five years.  Pleasant Ridge Elementary School in Gastonia opened in August 2017, and Stanley Middle School, which is similar in design to Belmont Middle, opened in March 2018.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was recorded, and it will air on Spectrum Cable Channel 21 (the education station for Gaston County Schools) the week of August 30 - September 5 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. each day.  It also will be available for viewing on the Gaston County Schools YouTube channel.

Click here for the grand opening celebration program.

Press "play" below to watch the grand opening celebration.