Beacon of education

For the first time in 35 years, Newton-Conover City Schools students will fill a brand new school when classes start next week.

And for the second time in the school system's history it is opening a new middle school.

"We want this to stand proudly the next 100 years as a beacon of hope and direction for every boy and girl that is given the wonderful opportunity to attend," Newton-Conover City Schools Superintendent Dr. Barry Redmond said during a dedication ceremony for Newton-Conover Middle School. "For a principal and a superintendent, the opportunity to build and open a new school is a career highlight. For a community, it is a significant source of pride as parents and students consider what it means to have a good school to attend especially one as beautiful and substantial as this one."

The new $20.8 million middle school offers a 128,000-square-foot learning place that is filled with three stories of classrooms, science labs, music and choir rooms, art studios, auditoriums and more. Located off County Home Road just 2.5 miles from the current middle school, the new facility sits on a 30-acre site that includes baseball and softball fields, a football/soccer field and tennis courts.

"It is almost breath-taking because of the magnitude of this building," said NCMS Principal Patrick Nelson. "In my mind, I can't wait for our students to come back and experience the new building and the new school year. It is very exciting."