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New Bristol Tennessee Middle School gym may be ready this fall

New Bristol Tennessee Middle School gym may be ready this fall

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BRISTOL, Tenn. — Bristol Tennessee Middle School will not be completed until the summer of 2021, but school officials expect the newly renovated school gymnasium will be ready for use in late October or early November of this year.

Construction continues on Bristol Tennessee City Schools’ middle school, which will total 154,000 square feet. Ed Depew, supervisor of facilities and maintenance for the school system, said Monday that the gym’s wooden floor is currently being put down, and once that is complete, the wood will be finished and the floor painted.

“We are really eager to get the floor in the gym done,” Depew said.

Once that’s finished, the final major step of refurbishing the gym will be installing the bleachers.

Simultaneously, work continues on the rest of the building. Depew told the Bristol Herald Courier in June that poor weather and COVID-19 had caused some delays. Despite the many rainy days that have occurred since June, Depew said progress has been made, and the project is still on track for the 2021-22 school year.

“We’re working hard to be ready by the next school year so we can pull the sixth graders out of the elementary schools, put them in the middle schools and free up some space,” he said.

Depew said BurWil Construction crews have completed pouring the floors for all three levels of the classroom wing, and a contractor is currently setting door frames. By the time winter comes, he said the school system plans to have a roof and walls on the classroom wing. A roof is also set to be placed over the arts program section of the structure in just two to three weeks, Depew said.

Vance Middle School, which was built in 1958, is inadequate for the needs of today’s students and teachers, Depew said previously. Vance Middle has a hot water radiator, no room for sixth graders, no air conditioning and is incompatible with many modern teaching practices, he added.

The new facility is designed for today’s needs and expectations. Most classrooms will be built to enable collaboration with neighboring classes. The connecting corridor will house a small theater, the cafeteria, the kitchen and a media center, which will include the library.

The total cost of the middle school is estimated to be more than $36.1 million, including property acquisition, design, site preparation and construction. Roughly $27 million of that cost will be paid for through Sullivan County Schools construction bonds and the rest covered by the school system budget and contributions by the city of Bristol, Tennessee.

lgreiss@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2412 | Twitter: @Leif_Greiss

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