The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District got a look at the district’s future Friday, with a tour of the Partnership School site.
The body, along with Superintendent Eddie Peasant, Armstrong Middle School Principal Julie Kennedy and other administrative staff toured the facility, which is scheduled for completion in December or in January 2020. The completed school will house the district’s sixth and seventh graders, and will serve as a training ground and laboratory for the Mississippi State University College of Education. The facility is funded by the district, the State of Mississippi and MSU, and will cost more than $27 million. Ground was broken in the spring of 2017. All members of the board, except for Board President John S. Brown attended.
West Brothers Construction Superintendent Jim Shackelford said the facility was a little over halfway complete.
“The structure is basically complete,” Shackelford said. “What we’re doing now is closing the structure with windows and doors so that all the finishes can be set.”
School Board member Sumner Davis said it was his first time walking through the site. “I think it’s a symbol of our buildings to match the experience provided to our students in the classroom from the teachers,” Davis said.
Davis also spoke to the physical design of the school.
“I think the way the floor plan is laid out is going to be very functional and conducive for the students and staff who will utilize this building,” Davis said. “That’s one thing you can’t overlook.”
Among the features designed into the Partnership School are classroom pods, allowing MSU education students to observe teachers at work in classrooms without being intrusive. The school also includes some office and classroom space for the MSU College of Education. The school’s gym will also double as its auditorium, with collapsible bleachers on one side and a stage built onto the other. Some of the science classrooms will have doors opening to the outdoors to allow easier access.
Peasant said the tour would allow members of the board to see the school for themselves, rather than going off his descriptions alone.
“It’s great to be able to allow them to see some things that I’ve tried my best to explain to them in meetings,” Peasant said.
Despite some setbacks due to weather and other issues, Peasant said he was pleased with the progress West Brothers had made. “It’s very solid, and there’s a lot of things going into the design,” Peasant said. We’re excited, and we think the taxpayers will be very pleased with the result.”
Once the school is complete, Kennedy will serve as its principal. She said she had walked through once before in May, but was able to take her two assistant principals on this tour.
“I’m excited because I’ve seen the blueprints for a long time, and I’ve now been able to put that in perspective,” Kennedy said.
“I Think I’m most excited to see the students and teacher be able to learn in their new spaces,” Kennedy added.