Midway ISD starts first day of school with fresh renovations and developments

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 8:59 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Many Midway ISD students are starting their first day at a brand new, freshly renovated or different campus after the district completes years of planning, construction and adjustment.

“It has been a very hectic couple of years,” Midway ISD Superintendent George Kazanas said. “On top of educating children during a pandemic, we’ve had a number of construction projects.”

One of those construction projects was completely transforming an intermediate school into an elementary school.

Chapel Park Elementary used to be Woodgate Intermedia, a school for fifth and sixth graders. Now, Kazanas said the district transformed almost every aspect to accommodate all elementary students, including Pre-K through fifth graders.

“We had to do a lot of transforming, bringing the library as a center of the school, moving office areas, safety and security, but also the classrooms so that we could have learning environments for our most little student, youngest students,” he said.

The district also added collaboration areas on each wing of the school as well as a “makers space” where students can exercise their creative skills.

“So when the furniture and the books and everything were delivered and we’ve unpacked everything, it has just become the school that we knew it could be,” Chapel Park Elementary Principal Kim Hawkins said.

Parents and students already had a chance to visit the new additions to the district during ribbon cuttings and back-to-school Meet the Teacher night.

“Jumping into it with a positive attitude and with the anticipation of being able to be a part of something new and set traditions and get to experience it for the first time has really been an exciting, exhilarating special experience that we get to experience by being the first group of kids at Chapel Park,” Kaitlyn Mercer, a mom of a Kindergartner and fifth grader, said.

Another new addition to the district is Park Hill Elementary. However, the district built this elementary school from the ground up. He said the features of the brand new school are also very strategic and detailed, including areas for outdoor learning.

These two new elementary schools are not the only developments.

“We also are opening our middle school, River Valley Middle School,” Kazanas said. “It used to serve fifth and 6th graders...We have moved to the concept of pre-K through fifth grade for elementary and six, seventh, eighth graders for middle school. Now, Midway has two middle schools due to growth, but that campus doubled in size.”

The district rezoned the schools in the area to incorporate the new concept of intermediate schools to elementary and middle schools. Fifth and sixth graders went to school at the intermediate schools. Now, the fifth graders will attend elementary schools, and the sixth graders will attend middle schools.

The Midway communications director told KWTX in July that the district rearranged the school system to align with the Texas curriculum. The superintendent also said this will help the district’s growth and students’ learning.

Midway ISD also added a new technical education building to the high school that will have computer science, pre-engineering, robotics, fashion merchandising, graphic arts, journalism classes and more.

Because of space, the district opened a new training center which will not only host training for faculty and staff but also be the spot of for the “nontraditional” high school called Horizons.

“It’s a chance at beginning with an inaugural class of 9th graders are part of that where they’re taking their courses, many of them online, as well as taking college courses, eventually having the ability to go to work,” Kazanas said.

The district converted a former grocery store in Hewitt into a new information technology center. Kazanas said this will be a place to store any technological devices or items.

The final project that the school is inching closer to finishing is Midway Middle School renovation. He said they completed the first phase in the summer.

“Pretty much just about every single space of Midway Middle will be renovated by the end of this summer for the opening of the next school year,” Kazanas said.

But, for now, Kazanas said he is excited for students’ first day in these new spaces and new places.

“What’s next is we want our kids back,” he said. “That’s what’s next. We want the kids to see it... It’s for the kids and for us to use it and use it for learning and for the growth of our kids, and so we’re thrilled.”

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