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Now that the renovation of Cartmell Elementary School is complete and the Early Childhood Learning Center is in its second year, Carroll County Schools Superintendent Lisa James and the Board of Education are turning their attention to upgrading and updating Carroll County Middle School.
The project will include a new or renovated gymnasium, as well as renovations to two basements below the existing building, James said in a phone interview Monday, to create space for an arts and humanities program and project-based learning.
The basements were not included when the building last was remodeled in 1992, according to CCMS Principal Dana Oak.
“We’re at the very beginning and investigating” what is needed, James said. The goal is to “meet the needs of 21st century students ... so that it will be an enriching environment for our kids, and be globally competitive.”
The district will continue to focus on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM program, designed to promote the statewide and national push toward college and career readiness, she said.
“The skills of tomorrow are different from what they were when we grew up,” James said. “We really want to be ahead of the game in increasing our kids’ knowledge, so they can be more competitive, today and tomorrow. ... We want to push the envelope to become a STEM academy or magnet school.”
Ron Murrell of Ross Tarrant Architects, who has been working with the district on renovations and construction projects for several years, told the board at the Oct. 18 meeting that he and his team “are excited with the challenges” of bringing the middle school forward to meet the changing needs of education.
He said his team would work with James, Oak and others to “look at the whole program ... to understand how the school needs to work today and in the future.”
Murrell told the board that he recently attended a conference for the Kentucky chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners, at which the keynote speaker was a proponent of Project Lead the Way and its STEM program.
“Schools are no longer just churning out students” like a production line in a factory, and today’s classroom isn’t a group of children seated and listening as the teacher lectures at the chalk board, Murrell said.
“We are excited with the challenges” of the CCMS project, Murrell said, adding that the team would look over what funding is available in the budget and what educators believe the school needs to be. “We need to look at the whole program ... to understand how the school needs to work today and in the future.”