OUT WITH THE OLDPublished 7:21pm Thursday, June 20, 2013
CHMS demolished to make room for new classrooms
There’s not much left to see of the main building at Charles Henderson Middle School.
“I drove by the other day and it was kind of sad to look up there and see the building was almost gone,” said Amie Moses who attended CHMS in the early 90s.
The building is being demolished to make room for a new state-of-the-art facility budgeted to cost more than $7 million, according to a construction bid award.
“Progress is a good thing, but it still hurts a little to see it being torn down,” said Dr. Mark Head, who was a CHMS student in the early 80s. “It really does pull at your heartstrings.”
Both Moses and Head agree the building was outdated when they were students, so they understand the need for change.
“It was such an odd configuration, and it was 70s architecture,” Head explained. “There were two classrooms you had to go through the lunchroom to get to.”
“The open classroom design they had for the school was outdated when I was there,” Moses said. “There were cubical-like walls between classrooms and you could hear noise from next door.”
Troy City Schools Superintendent Lee Hicks said because of the way the building was made, there was no way to simply renovate.
“We would have loved to have been able to save the building,” Hicks said, “but unfortunately, the 1970s architecture was not solid enough to do that. The way the roof was, and the supports, it was less expensive to take it to the ground and start again.”
On top of the new building, which is planned to house larger classrooms and a new cafetorium, Hicks said the gym, band room and science lab will be receiving a total overhaul – including new brick work and a new roof.
“It will be a lot like what you see at the elementary school,” Hicks said. “There will be a more manicured look from both Gibbs Street and Elm Street and there will be a road that goes around back so parents can drop off and pick up students in a safer way.”
Whaley Construction received the bid award for the project and began tearing down the old school this week. Students are expected to be able to return to the campus in August 2014.
Until then, students will be split between the elementary school and high school.
The middle school renovation is the final and most expensive project in a $15 million capital improvement program undertaken by the Troy City Schools district two years ago.
And although Moses said she is excited her son, Gavin, will have a wonderful place to attend middle school, she feels a twinge of sadness.
“I attended Troy Elementary School when it first opened,” Moses said. “When I walked my son into the school for the first time, I told him it was where I had gone to school. I won’t get to do that at the middle school, now. I won’t know any of the little details to share with him to make it easier or special.”
Now an educator, Head said he is interested to see how the facility changes in a way to better accommodate the needs of students.
“I am intrigued to see how things are going to look and what they come up with,” Head said. “But I have a lot of memories in the old place, for sure.”