RED BANK, TN (WRCB) - Red Bank Middle School is 75 years old, and shows every minute of it. From peeling paint to poorly equipped classrooms, the school has been patched up and painted over a few times too many. It served as the community's high school from 1938 until the early 1980s.
"I have two electrical plugs in my entire classroom," said Sarah Hill, an 18-year RBMS veteran. "I'm surprised it hasn't blown up, with the teachers all trying to plug in everything at the same time." Those days are finally over. When students return on August 8, it'll be all new.
Gary Waters, Hamilton County's assistant superintendent for auxiliary services said, "This school will be up to date on wireless and networking for computers. And we'll have more than adequate electric outlets. The teachers will love it."
That's just one reason the new building is creating so much excitement. Located behind Red Bank High, the new Middle School offers improved athletic fields, a brighter learning environment, and a new reason for pride in the community. The cafeteria is roomy with built-in sound buffers. Band and chorus rooms are acoustically designed, and built for growth. Each grade has its own wing and identical science labs. A new media center replaces the old school's decaying library. A welcoming commons area features huge ceiling fans, giving the new school a unique look.
6th grader Bud Munn said he expects new students at the new school. "I think it will bring a lot of new families to Red Bank," he said. Nobody wants to go to a school that's so old, but they will want to go to this one. It has a high school sized gym, and kids love that," he said.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lee McDade said the school's proximity to Red Bank High will have many positive effects. "These principals can work together on connecting educational and athletic programs," he said. "We've proven at our other schools that middle and high schools close together build better academic and extracurricular programs."
Principal John Pierce says his students and teachers can hardly wait for August. With just two weeks left in the school year, some of the packing has already begun. It's hard work, he says, but well worth the end result.
"We'll miss this old school," he said. "There's a lot of history here, and a lot of memories. But I think the new school will bring new community involvement. When our parents see it, they'll want to be a part of it, and we welcome them."
The new school is energy efficient, and has a construction cost of just under thirty million dollars. Demolition of the old school is scheduled for this summer. Red Bank city officials say they hope the property can be developed for recreational, residential and commercial use.