Staff prepares to welcome new year with junior high students scattered

“Give” and “take” are watchwords for teachers and administrators in the Banks School District as classes get ready to commence for the 2013-14 academic year.

“Our staff goal is ‘be flexible,’” Banks Junior High Principal Shelley Mitchell said last week as she made plans to temporarily house her school’s 180 students in portable classrooms and at the high school.

That’s because much of the old junior high building has been razed to make way for a $7.5 million facility with 10 new classrooms, a new library and computer lab, a new office, second-floor commons area and remodeled PE locker rooms — all part of a $10.5 million bond levy approved by voters last May.

A foundation has been poured and walls are going up to form the new portion of the school, located at 13050 N.W. Main St. The current junior high gym and remodeled locker rooms, cafeteria and music room “will remain and become part of the new middle school,” said Superintendent Bob Huston.

The temporary school office will be housed in the current music room for the next 10 months.

When the school reopens next spring, seventh- and eighth-graders will occupy second-floor classrooms. Current sixth-graders will remain at the elementary school until fall of 2014, when they’ll occupy classrooms on the ground level.

Earlier this month, staff members painted five portables the district purchased from the Newberg School District. “The ‘new’ portables are not the prettiest, but will serve our transitional needs until our students can occupy the new middle school,” Huston said.

For Mitchell, the changes are a positive shift.

“It’s good news for students,” she said. “More than anything, we are grateful to our community for their support of our school district and [for] promoting a great educational environment for student success.”

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