JOPLIN, MO.--- Last night, we got a sneak peek inside Joplin's new Irving Elementary School, but that's not the only campus opening for the first time in January. KODE/KSN takes a look inside construction at the combined East Middle and Soaring Heights Elementary schools. It's a huge complex and some parts are mostly done, but there's still a lot of work to be done in other parts of the building.
"What you'll see at East is that the middle school is predominantly finished. It's for the most part, in the stage of completion. As you move farther east toward the elementary, you'll see it not as far along," said Mike Johnson, Joplin Schools Construction Manager.
As part of the construction strategy on the east campus, crews would start work on the middle school areas then work their way east to Soaring Heights.
"It's going to be a mad dash to the finish on Soaring Heights. We've known that all along, that was in our construction schedule," said Johnson.
The structure is massive - 250,000 square feet - roughly the size of the old Joplin High School. There is a distinct separation of the elementary from the middle school.
"Separate parent drop off and even the line of sight, so the elementary playground doesn't have a view of the middle school," said Johnson.
The construction punchlist is much shorter on the middle school side.
"There are several rooms that are done that we're really excited about, but there's still a lot of finish work to be done on this end of the building," said Dr. C.J. Huff, Joplin Schools Superintendent.
It still needs furniture - but the fixtures are already installed in the family and consumer sciences room and the nearby science lab.
"You don't have to go very far to see some regular classrooms, some opportunities for collaborative work," said Dr. Huff.
The East campus is a unique blend of dual purpose spaces yet distinct wings. The cafeteria kitchen, auditorium and environmental systems will take care of both schools. There is no point where younger kids will cross paths with the middle school students. All of it opens on January 6th.
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