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Banks school reaches a milestone

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - The wall raising on Banks' school campus went smoothly last Monday, Aug. 26, despite the rain. On Monday, Aug. 26, Banks residents got their first glance at the future of mid-level education in town — the place where the community's youth will learn history and math, make friends and play hopscotch and wall ball.

The walls of the new middle school went up this week, marking another milestone for the Banks School District. The $7.5 million facility — which will feature 10 new classrooms, a new library and computer lab, a new office, second-floor commons area and remodeled PE locker rooms — is part of a $10.5 million bond levy approved by voters last May that will transform the current junior high into a middle school by spring of 2014.

School officials and a few families braved the drizzle to grab free hot dogs and enjoy camaraderie during a small celebration of the wall raising.

Architect Scott Rose of DLR Group manned the grill and Shelley Mitchell, Banks Junior High School principal, thanked community members for backing the project.

"I am grateful to the community for supporting our school," Mitchell said. "We spent the last year preparing, and now it seems like the rest will go pretty quickly," she said, looking at the soaring, fragmentary structure.

New bathroom project backed up

A new bathroom facility near the high school football field is part of Banks School District's bond project, approved by voters last May. But spectators will have to hold it this football season or make do with the old toilets at the back of the high school building.

Superintendent Bob Huston said the district is currently backed up on this piece of the larger project while officials wait for permits from Clean Water Services.

Because a restroom facility requires an impervious surface, Huston said, the district must compensate by creating plans for a pervious space of equal square-footage, complete with native plants and trees and irrigation. Invasive species must also be removed from the area.

"It's very expensive, too," said Huston, who estimated it would cost about $15,000.

There isn’t space for a permeable surface right next to the planned-for bathroom facility, so it will likely go across the football field next to a small creek, Huston said, where grass, weeds, blackberries and scrub trees currently live.

The nearest wetland is across the football field from the restroom site. Huston said the facility could be done by mid-November.



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