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New Miller Middle School building is taking shape

Building project still on schedule to finish by fall 2024, with football field coming in 2025
Steel beams being placed during construction of new Miller Middle School building on Thursday. (Tyler Brown/Durango Herald)

Steel beams have been erected for the new Miller Middle School building, according to Durango School District 9-R Chief Operations Officer Christopher Coleman.

In January, the middle school began constructing a 60,000 square-foot three story building east of the existing school building where the football field used to be. The project will cost $45 million.

The Cuningham Group, in collaboration with Reynolds Ash + Associates, helped design the new building and the renovations to the existing school.

The plan also called for keeping a more modern portion of the building, which was added in 2004. That part is located on the school’s east wing. An elevated bridge will connect the buildings.

“It is exciting to see the structure taking shape, and other work is progressing in the background including site utilities and renovations,” Coleman said.

The new building will incorporate things such as outdoor learning spaces, use of natural light, along with art and performance 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.

Coleman added that the building design has not undergone any significant changes. Once the new building is erected, much of the existing facility will be demolished in order to build a new football field where the school’s west wing auditorium currently sits.

There will be a dedicated drop-off zone for buses located 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.

Supply issues had been a potential concern for the project when it started in January, but Coleman said the district has been fortunate not to run into obstacles obtaining building materials.

“Our biggest obstacle has been weather related with winter snowstorms and summer monsoons,” Coleman said.

Durango has experienced more moisture recently, but for the most part it has been a dry summer. However, Durango did experience an above average snow year, which created some set backs for construction.

Funding for the project was granted through the $90 million bond issue voters approved in 2020 for Durango School District 9-R. It is the largest out of all the bond projects, which also included the construction for the new Animas High School Building, Durango High School’s Impact Career Development Center and renovations to Needham and Park Elementary schools last year.


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