By MICAH WILKINS
August 13, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – As of this week, the newly renovated Northeast Middle School is now home to 478 seventh graders.
Construction workers were making the final touches on the school and its exterior up until Sunday so the building would be ready for the first day of school Monday morning, Aug. 11.
According to Cheryl Luther, the Senior Superintendent at JE Dunn Construction, the company hired to renovate the school, some last minute work was added to the agenda last week, including window cleaning, power-washing the sidewalks and additional painting.
“We saved the best for last,” Luther said. “We wanted to beautify a few extra spaces. We didn’t spend all the money in our budget, so we wanted to do a little more, and do some tweaking to all the bells and whistles.”
When Northeast Middle closed in 2010, the building was left in disarray, according to Luther.
“People just walked out, it was a mess,” Luther said. “Going from what you walked into to what we have now, it’s incredible. The workers are pretty excited.”
For the past few months, over 100 workers were working in the building at one time, according to Luther, painting, laying concrete, moving in furniture and more.
The renovation of the building is part of a $25 million project by the Kansas City Public School district to open two new middle schools this fall. Northeast Middle and Central Middle schools are implementing a brand new model of education specific to middle schoolers.
This model, introduced last year by Dr. Cynthia Johnson, the Kansas City Public School district’s Lead Middle School Principal and Project Leader, includes color-coded “neighborhoods” for groups of students within the building. Students in the purple neighborhood, for example, take their core classes all together in the same area of the school, and their classrooms, hallways, even lockers are painted purple.
Also included in this new model of education are collaboration areas within the schools, which act as open spaces where students can complete group projects, have discussions, perform skits and more.
“It’s a different type of environment from the regular classroom setting,” said Sherry Stark, the new school’s secretary. “Sometimes you just need to relocate to keep the kids focused.”
To Stark, the large classrooms, the tall ceilings, the renovated gymnasiums and auditorium, the school’s sophisticated technology, and more, it’s all “state of the art stuff.”