Out with the old Columbine Middle School, in with the new

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MONTROSE, Colo. (KJCT) -- The Montrose County School District is set to break ground on the new $33 million Columbine Middle School building.

The original school was built in 1960, but it was recently deemed unsafe for students and beyond repair.

A Building Excellent Schools Today grant, or BEST grant, from the Colorado Department of Education, helped with $12 million. The rest came from a mill levy Montrose voters approved in November 2016.

Education is about giving the kids the right foundation for their future, but the physical foundation at the old school was failing the test of time.

"This school has been known as a place you want your kids to come to," said Bobbi Button, a secretary. “I know we need a new school because I know what the building is like and it doesn't have what newer schools offer.”

Many of the teachers at CMS were also students at the school.

Button said the school opened for the 1961-1962 school year, and she attended for her 8th-grade year.

Krystal Nething, the secretary at CMS, attended from 1993 to 1995.

“I was a student here in 1989, 90, and 91,” said Leslie Maddox, a math teacher at CMS. “This was my classroom when I was in school here.”

Since no amount of tutoring could fix the structure’s failing grade, building a new school was the answer.

Now that they have the funding, the ladies said they'll be sad to see the iconic building demolished.

“It always feels good when you know your community supports your schools and knowing that they feel like it is important to invest in our kids. That’s so amazing,” said Nething.

“It will be hard to watch them, put a hole in the building,” said Bobbi.

The most notable upgrades that the students will see are in technology and athletics.

“We are bringing technology into our classrooms and we have a building that's made for that,” Nething said.

The new building will be almost double the size, according to Principal Ben Stephenson.

“The halls are crowded, and when it’s hot, it’s really hot because there is no air conditioning. It’s just a building that’s served its purpose. It has done a great job...it’s just time to be replaced,” said Stephenson.

Maddox has found one common denominator between old and the new.

"I think it comes back to that staff, I don't think it's just the building, that makes people want to come back," said Maddox. “It’s home.”

Officials plan to break ground on May 30 and they hope to move in before the 2018-19 school year.

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