By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
The nearly 420 Lumberport Middle School students will be in their new school home—Lincoln Middle School—right after the winter holiday break, said Anthony Fratto, Harrison County Schools’ assistant superintendent for operations and facilities.
“We’re on schedule,” Fratto said.
Students, teachers and administrators Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, will walk into the new construction that will be attached by an 8-foot-wide section (containing a series of doors) to the present Lincoln High in Shinnston. Lumberport Middle School students will then become Lincoln Middle School students.
Fratto said the $14-million project is funded by excess levies and grants from the School Building Authority, so will be paid in full.
He said the new building, replacing the almost 90-year-old Lumberport Middle School, built in 1928, will offer students a state-of-the-art educational experience.
“It’ll be a more modern facility for education,” Fratto said. “That’s the most exciting part.”
Some of the features will be an LGI (large group instruction) room with cutting-edge computer technology, distance-learning abilities and upgraded features to existing areas, such as the cafeteria.
Fratto said the cafeteria will be shared with the high school, but with more space in general, a larger kitchen, bigger freezers, upgraded food preparation stations, better strategic restrooms placement, etc., they will be able to effectively accommodate the extra students.
A special feature at the new middle school will be a Wellness Center, Fratto said. Though not staffed each day, he said there will be a doctor and nurse available at different times for vaccinations and other health needs.
“The students won’t have to leave the school,” he said to get those basic health needs met. Also, the Center will be available to the general public as well.
The middle school students will have their own gymnasium, Fratto said, but, as with the cafeteria, they will also share the auditorium with the high school.
Omni Associates, an architectural firm in Fairmont, headed up the project and used a streamlined “Design Build” plan that sped up the entire process of the project, Fratto said.
City Construction of Clarksburg is the contractor for the 60,000-square-foot project. Brian Henderson, job site supervisor, said both school buildings complement one another. While the architecture and materials used are not identical, he said, using the same brown-and-tan color scheme unites them.
As for the eight-month turn-around time in getting Lincoln Middle to the point of mostly just needing the internal finishing work, Henderson said, “That’s unheard of—especially in light of the winter we had.”
He said they first dug the foundation January 6, 2014, and by September 8, the building was ready for the crew to begin the internal work—painting, laying flooring, completing ceilings, etc.
Henderson said 57 men on a daily average worked on the project. He credits these excellent work crews for helping the job move forward so quickly and efficiently.
“It was the efforts of all the different trades,” Henderson said.
Another factor that helped the construction move rapidly was the use of insulated concrete forms (ICF), he said. It’s easier to install than the older type of materials.
“It’s only the second one [school construction] in the state to use this material,” Henderson said. The benefit of this new material is that the insulation is energy efficient and helps lower heating and air-conditioning costs.
Fratto added that the new middle school will also serve the community by being a place where community groups, organizations, and professionals, such as fire fighters and law enforcement officers, can meet for trainings, meetings and other important functions.
“The community can also benefit from the modern technology at the school,” he said.
Both Fratto and Henderson said they’re confident the new Lincoln Middle School doors will be open on time.