The Marion Independent School District will show off improvements to Vernon Middle School at an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. today (Tuesday).
Public support for an $8.8-million bond issue 3 1/2 years ago resulted in a three-part renovation that transformed the school from an aging building into a 21st-century learning center.
“We want every parent, student, grandparent, community member and business to be a part of what they helped create,” Vernon principal Phil Cochran said.
The open house will be held in conjunction with the school’s Big Red Rally, which Cochran described as “a teacher-initiated celebration about the good things about Marion.”
The event, coordinated by Vernon staff members Kathryn Woerner and Michele Aschbrenner, will feature booths highlighting local service organizations and businesses.
The rebuilt middle school still sits between 12th and 14th streets and Fourth and Fifth avenues.
However, the main entrance and student drop-off area has been switched from Fifth Avenue to Fourth Avenue.
The academic areas have been expanded to serve just more than 600 students in four (instead of three) grades: fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.
The media center, music classrooms and lunchroom all have been expanded. The gym has been extensively remodeled with a new floor, new bleachers and a viewing wall where instructors can project classroom materials. The school also has been equipped with a geothermal heating/cooling system.
There is parking on both avenue sides of the building. Doors facing both Fourth and Fifth avenues will be open during the open house and Big Red Rally.