It's official - sixth grade will return to Beaty-Warren Middle School in 2013-2014.
The reason an entire class was shuffled from Beaty to Warren Area Elementary Center for the 2012-2013 school year was to make room for major renovations.
The first of two phases of that work have progressed to the point that officials are willing to move forward with moving sixth grade back.
"Things are moving rapidly down there," Director of Buildings and Grounds Services Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht said. "There are between 35 and 45 construction workers down there on any given day. It's really encouraging.
"Walls are going up. Metal studs are up. Electricians are working. The halls are looking good. We're putting a new block on the hallways.
"I'm really impressed with the look of the new cafeteria and the kitchen."
He estimated that, "97 percent of the required demolition is now complete. We're in the phase that I like when we're putting things back together."
With one-third of the students moved out, "we had less people to work around, that gave us a great edge for the first step," Kennerknecht said.
The work will not be finished at the start of the coming school year. All of the first phase is scheduled to be complete at that time. There will be enough space for three full grades at the school and, "we will continue on into January. The schedule is that they are supposed to be done when we come from Christmas break."
"I have to get four additional classrooms renovated over the summer," he said.
Also, larger spaces - art, band and choir rooms - will be set up to house multiple classrooms.
Work on the auditorium must also take place during the summer to prevent any closure of that area during the school years.
"The auditorium is never out of play," Kennerknecht said.
The bands and choirs hold class on the stage, freeing up those rooms for classes.
Some large groups may also meet in the cafeteria.
Instead of reporting to the art room for art class, the teacher travels from classroom to classroom with materials on a cart. That will continue until 2014.
So far, the work is not particularly disruptive for the students who remain.
"We had great cooperation with the building principal and the students," Kennerknecht said. "It's amazing how the students have such a great attitude."
"The board took a tour last week," he said. "They were quite impressed... very happy with what they saw. We're really excited about the progress."