COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Plans are in the works to rebuild a local middle school that needs some major repairs.
According to Harrison School District 2, settling soil has caused cracks to form in the walls at Carmel Middle School, and shifting sometimes makes it hard to lock doors.
“Our security monitors are moving all the time just to ensure that all areas are staying secure and safe because a door could be locked in the morning, and the shifting, and they’re not catching right in the afternoon,” said Amanda Wermers, Carmel’s principal.
Wermers has worked at Carmel for three years. This is her first year as principal.
“Cracks will appear overnight that weren’t there before,” she said. “So it’s been continuous throughout the past three years that I’ve been here of different areas of the building that will shift, and buckles in the floor will appear. Cracks in the wall will appear that weren’t there before.”
For now, the school is working around the problems.
“The doors, like the auditorium doors, those haven’t locked in the three years that I’ve been here,” Wermers said. “We do things like we keep the lights on all day long in there so that we can make sure that students aren’t in there that don’t belong in there.”
But Wermers knows a more permanent solution is needed for the 50-year-old building. Plans are in the works to rebuild the school.
“We will be a complete renovation,” Wermers said. “They’ll take the building down. They will rebuild from the ground up to give the students and the community the best school that they deserve that has all of the safety features and ... options that every other student gets.”
The plan is to close the building on May 21 and reopen in January 2022. During that time, students will go to different schools.
“We’ll be a school within a school,” Wermers said. “Our sixth graders will be housed out of Monterey Elementary School, and our seventh and eighth grade teams will be on one wing of Panorama.”
When the students return, each grade level will have its own wing in the school. The renovations also include a maker space for STEM activities, a communications room, community centers and an auditorium for the community to use.
The school will also be able to accommodate more students. There will be room for around 600 students, which is about 200 more than the school’s current capacity.
Superintendent John Rogerson said it was important to rebuild Carmel instead of closing it and opening a brand new school.
“The voters voted this bond knowing this was one of the major projects we would be doing,” he said. “They were very interested in keeping Carmel Middle School operating and actually expanding it so it could serve the community, which is why we’re putting in some community pieces.”
The project is expected to cost about $32 million.