BMS preparing for move

Published 3:42 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Teachers, administrators, students and parents all look forward to the last day of school each year. This year the emotions were mixed as Brewton Middle School rang the last bell – ever — for students Wednesday.

Brewton Middle School Principal Doug Prater said he had emotions that ranged from excitement to sadness at the thought of leaving the building that had served students in the Brewton School System for more than 50 years.

“I’m excited about being in a new school next school year, but I’m also a little sad to be leaving the tradition and history of this building,” Prater said.

Prater, as well as staff, faculty and students at BMS, are expecting to begin the 2011-12 school year in a newly-constructed facility located off Old Castleberry Road, just a few miles from the current school.

“This has been a wonderful place for us and it has served us well,” Prater said. “But, it gives me chill bumps just thinking about how wonderful the new school will be for everyone.”

Brewton City School Superintendent Lynn Smith said there are still many loose ends to tie up on the school’s construction, but he expects students to walk through the doors in August.

“I feel sure we’ll start the school year there,” Smith said. “Furniture has been ordered and will arrive in July, and computer networks will also need to be set up before school begins.

Smith said it is likely some construction work will be ongoing even when classes begin.

Although some additional work might be necessary as the new school year begins, Prater said a good bit of work by school staff is already being done to help make the transition easier.

“We are already getting a lot of work done that we typically do during the summer to help make the move easier for everyone,” Prater said. “I’m just not anxious about the physical part of moving.”

Students and faculty aren’t the only people looking forward to taking up residence at the new Brewton Middle School this fall. Workers who prepare meals for the students are anxious to cook on new equipment and serve meals in a cool, refreshing environment.

Diane Byrd, lunchroom supervisor at BMS, said the move to a fresh, clean facility is one she and her staff are excited about this year.

“We are so excited about the new school and lunchroom,” Byrd said. “We’ll be going into a kitchen with new appliances, new equipment and air conditioning. We’ve operated the lunchroom here without air conditioning for the students from years except for a small unit installed a couple of years ago. To be able to serve the students where it’s cool and comfortable will be a wonderful thing for everyone.”

Byrd said although the appliances work at the current school age is certainly an issue with a lot of the equipment.

“Some of the appliances here are really old,” Byrd said. “We will be leaving this behind and will walk into a kitchen that’s shiny and new. We’re just overwhelmed at the thought of having such a nice place to work.”

Sherry Hutto, school counselor at BMS, said the new facility will offer a new environment filled with possibilities.

“I’ve seen the new facility, and it’s really, really nice,” Hutto said. “Everything is so nice and fancy there. We’re really excited.”

Prater said projections by the construction company are to have work completed enough to allow school officials to take possession in July.

“We’re looking at a date around the Fourth of July,” Prater said. “Or maybe the week after, but we’re hoping to be officially given the keys to the building around that time. We will have work crews here and at the new facility working to complete projects before school begins in the fall.”

Construction and planning of the facility encompassed a long period of time, but Prater says the planning has paid off.

“When you have to envision what technology will be like 20 or 25 years from now it’s difficult,” Prater said. “The plans have put flexibility and adaptability into the project as much as possible. The plans are for this new school to serve this community for as long as possible.”

The old Brewton Middle School could become a community center if funding and feasibility studies allow it. A group of Brewton residents is working with the city to try to make that possible.