The Graves County School District has multiple construction projects underway, generating excitement about upcoming renovated spaces.
Most visible is the new cafeteria addition at Farmington Elementary. Since the school was constructed in the 1980s, the gymnasium has had to serve multiple purposes, including half of it being used as a cafeteria during daily meal times. Progress for the construction of a separate cafeteria has benefited from the mild winter. Students can anticipate enjoying the new space by the first day of the 2023-24 school year.
Graves County Middle School is undergoing several renovation projects. The school's heating and air system is being replaced, which will also result in ceilings and lighting improvements throughout the building. The ceilings must be removed for the HVAC installation. Once replaced, they will be updated with LED lighting to reduce energy costs. This project will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 will begin with the 1st and 2nd floor academic areas this summer. Phase 2 will start the following year for the remainder of the building. The finished project is planned for completion by the fall of 2024. The beginning stages of this project required the recent removal of the football practice field's topsoil to drill geothermal wells, driving a more efficient HVAC system. Repairs should be made with grass back on the field this fall.
Flooding in December also created a need for floor replacement in parts of GCMS. A new gym floor is receiving its final touches and should be open for use by the end of the month. Other floor damage repairs are scheduled for this summer.
GCMS staff and students are also enjoying a new fitness center, funded by a grant. Next year the school hopes to offer weight-lifting and fitness courses. Extra-curriculars currently can utilize the fitness center after school.
Graves County Middle School principal Jonathan Miller adds, "It's an exciting time to be an EAGLE at GCMS! Very soon we will have a brand new HVAC, new ceilings, new LED lighting, a new gym floor, and a new fitness center. We are excited about the plethora of facility upgrades that we are experiencing at GCMS! In two short years, it will seem like we have a brand new school! Obviously, a hurdle for the next two years will be conducting school business while being an active construction zone. However, we know when the projects are completed it will be well worth it."
Two more projects to note are Wingo Elementary and Graves County High School roof replacements.
Facilities Director Richard Horn says, "The roof replacement at Wingo is mostly complete, only finishing up some punch list items. The high school's new roof is currently in planning stages with the architect, with a possible late summer/fall start date for construction."
Wingo Elementary principal Scott Bradley shares, "Our school is in great condition. I am thrilled to see the board invest in the roof repairs at Wingo. The project was handled professionally and efficiently."
The high school's softball, soccer, baseball fields, and tennis courts will soon see additional sidewalks, marked parking and viewing areas to make these facilities more accessible to individuals with disabilities. Construction is scheduled to begin this spring. House lighting in the performing arts center is also set to be replaced with an upgraded and more efficient LED system.
Mr. Horn states, "I am excited for current and future students that we have been able to make some improvements to our facilities."
Superintendent Matthew Madding adds, “We have great facilities in our district, but it is important to make investments in what we have to ensure they continue to be high-quality facilities for many years to come. The updates and additions that are taking place now position our district to continue providing a first-rate education in first-rate facilities for the foreseeable future.”