Dramatic changes coming to Standard Middle School

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The face of Standard Middle School is changing. There are demolition crews on one side of the school, and construction crews on the other.

Construction began a few years ago through a $26 million modernization bond.

In June, demolition crews began the second phase of the project that included removing 22 classrooms, the library and administrative offices.

The current demolition is taking place on North Chester where the school's main entrance and student drop off point was. That area will be replaced with an eight classroom building and a parking lot.

When students arrive back on campus next month, they will be met with a brand-new state-of-the-art science lab, classrooms, library and new school entrance.

Many of the buildings were originally constructed back in the 1920s and 30s.

When the district received the bond in 2006, there was talk of building a brand-new school, but that wasn't an option due to enrollment numbers. Then the focus was put on modernization that originally did not include building from the ground up.

After state architects looked at the buildings, they determined that many of them needed to be demolished due to updated earthquake building standards.

"It was determined that we should have a 21st century learning environment, with the 21st-century design, for 21st century learners," said Assistant Superintendent Karen Cox.

Administrators say they've had many request from previous students wanting bricks from the demolished buildings as memorabilia.

"This is a transformational time for the community, staff, students and parents. It's going from the old bricks to the new building,"said Principal Jason Hodgson.

For many Standard Middle School alumni, even though the face of the school is changing, the history will live on in their hearts.

"It's a very important part of the community and we will remember the old, but we are super excited about what's happening here today," said Pam Cheatwood, Standard School District alumni.

Additionally, the modernization will add student safety and reduce traffic congestion on North Chester because the school's main drop off site will be Ferguson Avenue.

"Actually, when the project is completed, it will allow us to have four different drop off areas, aimed at separating parent traffic with bus traffic,"said Cox.

The school will be holding an open house with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on  August 26. Parents and the community are invited to come out and take a look at the new classrooms, library and science lab.

Students are encouraged to log on to the district's website and take a virtual tour of the campus to get acclimated with the new layout.

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