Daviess County Public Schools unveiled a schematic design and site plan Tuesday for the new Daviess County Middle School that is slated to be completed by August 2021.

Officials from RBS Design Group, the architectural firm hired for the project, told board members during a Tuesday luncheon at Meadowlands Elementary School that the new DCMS will be located with its entrance at the future Fairview Drive off Kentucky 603. The main entrance of the school will face north, with the school's sports fields and track in front of it.

In February, the district announced the new middle school will be built adjacent to Gateway Commons, the new lifestyle center off Kentucky 54. The properties, 20.185 acres and 22.799 acres, are next to the Gateway Commons shopping center near Hobby Lobby. They were purchased for a total of $5.9 million from Gateway Land, LLC, and SSS2 LLC (formerly the Marvin E. Settles estate property), both of which were owned by developer Matt Hayden.

The school will be courtyard-style, with the gymnasium toward the front of the school along with administrative offices and the cafeteria. Those spaces, and identical sixth, seventh and eighth grade class wings, will surround a 45,000-square foot courtyard that also includes an outdoor amphitheater and stage, according to Steve Martin, project coordinator with RBS.

Each class wing will have nine classrooms, two science labs, four resource rooms and a computer lab. The southwest corner will have band, chorus and music rooms, and the southeast corner will have home economics, Spanish, art and digital art class space.

A significant aspect of the new DCMS building design is the new code-mandated safety areas. According to International Code Council 500, which has been instituted by the Kentucky Department of Education, any school buildings constructed after the beginning of this year are required to have shelter space with enough area for the whole population at the school, Martin said.

This is new territory, Martin said, and as far as he and other RBS officials are aware, this will be the first in the state to be built to these specifications.

"We hope (this) can be a model building for other facilities in the state," Martin said.

This means each wing of the school will have a secured area that can withstand 250 mph winds and hold at least 300 students. These storm areas, or panic rooms, are centrally located in the school. They are self-sufficient in that they have restrooms and their own mechanical access and air units in the event inclement weather or a dramatic event causes students to be in there for a period of time. They are reenforced with extra concrete on all sides, including the ceiling, and have no windows.

When they aren't being used as storm shelters, they are the computer labs in each wing, which are some of the only classrooms that don't require windows, Martin said.

Matt Robbins, DCPS superintendent, commended RBS Design with the level of consideration it took when considering the building.

"You spent a lot of time with the middle school principal and staff and got a lot of input," Robbins said. "That's the way to design a building, with the users of the building in mind."

The early estimated cost of the entire project is $41,967,879, with the building itself estimated to cost $29.3 million. Both of those numbers are subject to change as the project moves forward, district officials said.

The board will consider for approval this schematic design, as well as the preliminary paperwork required by KDE in order to push the project forward, at its 4:30 p.m. Thursday board meeting at DCPS central office, 1622 Southeastern Parkway.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

(1) comment

Amelie Franki

Matt Hayden is a great developer. I really like his school design. I read in an essay that he developed examples of housing projects for the homelessness absolutely free. You can read about this on our website https://tooly.io/homelessness/. He studied at a prestigious college and this confirms his professionalism. I am proud that people like Matt live and work in my country.

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