With new Hibriten district middle school underway, GFMS becomes priority

Nov. 26, 2013 @ 07:36 AM

When construction starts on the new Hibriten district middle school early next year, renovations and additions to Granite Falls Middle will become the Caldwell County Schools’ top priority for construction, district officials said at several public meetings last week.

“For 10 years, the priority has been replacing William Lenoir Middle School, then Granite Falls Middle,” associate superintendent for auxiliary services Jeff Church told the Granite Falls Town Council on Monday. “Beginning in January 2014, the top priority will be replacing Granite Falls Middle School.”

Drawings from the 2002-03 school year, when the Granite Falls Middle renovations were first identified as a second-in-line priority, show four phases of renovations. The district hopes to begin the first phase in the next five to seven years, Church said. It’s too early to make predictions about the timing of the subsequent phases.

The 2002-03 drawings show new classroom space built in phases one and two; a new media center, gym, cafeteria, parking and more classrooms built in phase three; and more parking and classrooms built in phase four. The final project will evolve from those plans, which are tentative, Church said.

William Lenoir Middle and Granite Falls Middle were identified as the district’s main building priorities during the 2002-03 school year, Church said. At William Lenoir, there are problems with traffic flow, and the school — which is projected to be over capacity by 2014-15 — is landlocked in a residential area with little room to grow. At Granite Falls Middle, the main office building is 78 years old — although additions have been made since.

The Caldwell County commissioners approved funding for William Lenoir’s replacement in May, and the as-yet-unnamed school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.