MT. VERNON – Teachers and students had their first real chance to try out the newly expanded and renovated Casey Middle School campus Tuesday as part of District 80’s first day of classes.
And for sixth grade language arts teacher Michele Harpole, the new addition at Casey has provided students with a greatly enhanced learning environment.
“We’ve had an awesome day,” said Harpole, a Team Six Gold instructor at Casey. “It’s been so nice having the new building. Everybody has their own lockers. I’ve never had enough lockers (before) for every child so that is great. … It’s a definite privilege.”
The $6 million Casey expansion/renovation, which has been ongoing for about a year, is nearly complete and the facility was ready for classes to begin Tuesday.
All that’s left to finish on the project are some cosmetic improvements, an asphalt driveway in the front, and covered walkways between the campus buildings, said Casey Middle School Principal Mary McGreer. The walkways should be done by the end of September.
“It’s so students can go from one building to another safely and securely,” McGreer said of the walkways.
The largest part of the expansion involved building a brand new, two-story addition for sixth grade students.
Previously, sixth graders attended classes at the Dr. Andy Hall Early Childhood Center, located behind Casey’s main building.
The students would then have to walk outside from the Andy Hall building to Casey to attend art and PE classes, assemblies, special programs, and other classes. Now all sixth grade classes are going to be at Casey.
“It provides enhanced safety and security because now our campus is combined,” McGreer said. “(Before), they were exposed to the elements, they had to cross the street, and we lost instructional minutes because the students had to travel.”