Miller Middle School broke ground Thursday on what will be the biggest construction project to come out of a $90 million bond issue voters approved in 2020 for Durango School District 9-R.
School district board members, Miller Middle School faculty and students gathered for a presentation on the school’s remodel while the school orchestra performed.
The $45 million project includes a three-story building that will be around 60,000 square feet in size where the football field currently sits east of the existing school building.
The Cuningham Group in collaboration with Reynolds Ash + Associates helped design the new building and the renovations to the existing school.
The plan also calls for keeping a more modern portion of the building, which was added in 2004, located on the school’s east wing. An elevated bridge will connect the buildings.
“That portion of the building had some good bones, and with costs being what they are, we decided to keep that part,” said Jackie Squiers, project architect with Cuningham Group.
The new building will incorporate things such as outdoor learning spaces, use of natural light, art and performance spaces, and other spaces. Both the new building and renovations to the east wing will feature collaborative classrooms where students of the same grade and subject matter can work together in larger groups.
“That’s going to actually help a lot with developing a team environment for kids,” said Miller Middle School Principal Doug Geygan.
Geygan said previous classroom spaces were consolidated and the remodel will allow students to be in an environment that is conducive to a better learning experience.
The building’s west wing, which includes the auditorium, will be torn down and the football field will be relocated to that spot. There will be a dedicated drop-off zone for buses located to the west of the newly renovated building near the new football field. There will also be additional parking for staff members and a parent drop-off site north of new building.
Colin Leed of Bryan Construction Inc. said the team expects the building and renovations to be completed by fall 2024 with the new football field finished by spring 2025.
He said the project should finish on time if construction teams do not run into issues with labor or trouble getting supplies, but he is confident the project will finish within the estimated timeline.
He said the construction team has taken some delays into consideration when developing the timeline, but there are always unforeseen circumstances that could prolong the project.
The plan is to move students into the new addition while construction teams tear down the west wing of the building which was built in 1961.
“We’re very thankful to our voters for passing the bond in 2020 to give us the funds to remodel this school,” said 9-R board member Andrea Parmenter.