If you go
What: Tours of new middle school building
When: 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Craig Middle School site, 915 Yampa Ave.
• Residents will be shown through the building as they arrive. No RSVP is necessary.
• Tour participants should go to the school's south entrance and park on the street.
• For more information, call Joel Sheridan at 326-5614.
CMS construction timeline
• November 2007: Moffat County voters approve $29.5 million bond issue to pay for construction and other building upgrades across the district.
• June 2008: Demolition of Craig Middle School south wing begins.
• September 2008: Structural steel work begins on sixth-grade wing, administrative offices.
• October 2008: Structural steel nears completion; interior masonry, drywall installation begins.
Craig Maggie Lilyblade looked please as she gazed at the partially completed library at Craig's new middle school Wednesday.
"It's the grandness," said Lilyblade, an interior designer for The Neenan Co. "It's open."
As a worker layered sunny, yellow paint on the walls, sunlight filtered down through skylights in the ceiling.
Natural light, bright colors and easily distinguishable areas are designed to make the new school user friendly for incoming sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.
"You get to think about the things you did or did not like about middle school and, hopefully, create a great atmosphere for the kids" she said. "It's a huge part of why we do what we do."
Lilyblade was among a group of Neenan representatives and Moffat County School District administrators who took a tour of the new middle school Wednesday morning.
The building's south wing, which is under construction, is scheduled for completion Aug 10. Once crews have finished the south wing, they will begin work on the north wing, which Neenan officials estimate will be finished in December 2009.
But residents don't have to wait to see the building's interior.
The Neenan Co. and the school district will offer tours from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday of the building, located at 915 Yampa Ave. Residents will be lead through the building as they arrive. No RSVP is necessary.
Lilyblade pointed out one detail tour participants will see Friday: color. The school is divided into pods that have their own hues. Red signals the sixth-grade areas, while green and gold designate seventh- and eighth-grade areas, respectively.
"Kids start to get really excited : about what color they're identifying with," she said, adding that the colors also help students recognize different areas of the building.
Natural lighting also plays a major role in the new middle school. By using windows, skylights or interior windows looking out onto better-lit areas, designers have tried to draw natural light into most spaces.
Statistics have shown that natural lighting helps improve students' test scores, Lilyblade said.
"We know as human beings, as well, that we enjoy that connection to the outdoors and getting that natural light as (much) as possible," she added.
Other features could make the building more student friendly.
New classrooms measure about 840 square feet on average, compared to the 570 square-foot classrooms in the old building.
"We had a lot of rigged-up, patched-in technology" in the old building, Joel Sheridan said, adding that the new middle school has been wired for modern technology accessibility.
Sheridan, who earns $50,000 annually and works 11 days per month, is the district's liaison for construction and transition issues related to its bond issue projects. In May, the school board approved his change of assignment from assistant superintendent to construction liaison. As part of his duties, he also serves on the district's problem-solving team.
The new middle school building also has energy-saving devices in place. A light-sensor system installed in all classrooms detects how much natural light enters a room and adjusts lighting accordingly.
The system cost between $18,000 and $20,000, said Rick Meserve, Neenan senior project manager, adding that the district should save that much in energy costs within four or five years.
The district also has installed tankless water heaters in the building. The system saves on heating costs, Meserve said, because it heats water as it is needed rather than constantly using gas to heat a reserve of hot water.
The system uses about three-quarters less gas than a traditional tank system and costs about $30,000. The water heaters should pay for themselves in about one year.