Originally published: July 27, 2012
Thad Ayers, The Edmond Sun
The new Deer Creek Middle School is ready for about 800 teenagers to pack its halls and classrooms when school starts Aug. 14.
Built by Flintco Constructive Solutions on more than 40 acres of land on Sorghum Mill Road between North May and North Pennsylvania avenues, the 157,000-square-foot building is the $36 million fulfillment of the 2009 Deer Creek bond package, giving $142.1 million to fund 39 district-wide projects.
“It is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever been a part of,” said Sean McDaniel, district superintendent. “This sounds cheesy, but honestly when I get in the car, I can hardly wait to get to work.”
Upon entering the school through the main doors, the student or parent comes into the main hall, which immediately inundates them with an array of colors. A water fountain sits in the middle, acting as the figurative opening of the spring that flows throughout the halls of the school. The school was designed by Renaissance Architects.
“Some of the parents who have walked through have said they feel like they’re walking through a five-star hotel,” said Reuben Bellows, DCMS principal for four years. “Students don’t feel like they’re walking into a school, they’re walking into a nice building.”
The hall tells a brief pictorial history of Oklahoma with murals of the Devon Tower, the State Capitol and Land Run images. All 12 paintings were done by Oklahoma artist Scott Charles Henderson of SCH Murals.
“One of our goals right off the bat is to make students feel like the school has character or is comfortable,” Bellows said.
Three wings in the west end of the school make up the education portion. Large windows open both outside and into the hallways, where lounge chairs invite students to relax, socialize and — possibly — have class in an alternative setting, McDaniel said.
“Every room in the district has a SMART board,” McDaniel said.
On the east end is the main basketball court, the practice court, the wrestling room and locker rooms for every sport offered by the school, both boys and girls.
“Everybody’s got their own locker room,” McDaniel said.
The wrestling room, which McDaniel noted was larger than the high school’s, is also approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a tornado shelter. He said the entire school and staff could fit in that room.
While standing in the large cafeteria area, McDaniel said the school has about 60 security cameras, and said more could be added.
And as he surveyed this massive project that has taken more than two years to complete, McDaniel said he is excited to fill the empty halls with students.
“My son will be a seventh-grader,” McDaniel said. “I’m tickled to death for him and all the kids that get to go there.”
Yet Bellows isn’t letting the majesty of the building distract him. He said among his laundry list of things to do this year is to get past the architecture, and move on to the education.
“I think our teachers and myself and our staff are more excited about what we’ll be able to do in the school because of what opportunities we have,” he said.
Posted on Fri, July 27, 2012
by Scott Oglesby