Visalia's new middle school starting to take shape

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Construction is well underway for Visalia's newest middle school, which hopes to cut back on major overcrowding at Visalia Unified.

Within just a few months, the walls are nearly all up at Visalia Unified's newest middle school. The two-story building hopes to alleviate crowding at the district's other middle schools-- which are rapidly growing. "We are really impacted at Green Acres and we're growing. We're up almost 300 students in the district over last year, so we continue to grow, so it is really needed," said Craig Wheaton, Visalia Unified School District Superintendent

With several rain storms already behind us district officials are paying close attention to the building's progress. Making sure any bad weather doesn't delay its August 2016 opening. "We have built-in weather days. They're actually working on enclosing the building. You'll notice the roofs on the big building and siding is basically on," said Wheaton.

Visalia's new middle school is a unique project for the district. The two-story enclosed design is more energy efficient-- allowing for better retention of air conditioning and heating. Plus, superintendent Wheaton says the campus is better contained and more secure. "The other thing in today's world, It does really provide a safer environment as far as one point of entry and not having doors open out into the open air-- open spaces."

The school is eagerly anticipated by Neighborhood Church right across the street. The church moved to this location on Akers and Riggin, on the edge of town, with the promise new homes and schools would be built around it. Now, it's finally happening.

"But it's been a while and we've been surrounded by fields and, slowly, housing is coming in, and now the school is coming in, and so now it feels like we're part of a neighborhood again," said Stephanie Bartsch, Neighborhood Church

Other features of the school include a separate gym and cafeteria buildings with the cafeteria also doubling as a performance space for music and theater.
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