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What will Dover's new middle schools look like?

Emily Lytle * Delaware
elytle@doverpost.com
Dover Post

The architectural firm designing Capital School District’s new middle schools, Becker Morgan Group, will show their schematic designs to the public Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. in Dover High School. They will take public comments.

Becker Morgan presented the initial designs to the Board of Education Jan. 15, and the board will vote on the final designs in February.

The two middle schools for grades six to eight will be on one campus at the site of the old Dover High School on Pat Lynn Drive. They will be connected by a media bridge with technology labs and a library.

Each school can fit 800 students, and the common gym is big enough for all 1,600, Becker Morgan representatives said. There will be a 600-seat theater, blackbox theater and other creative spaces.

A common theme was designing schools that could be flexible. The initial plans include a large cafeteria with the possibility of a temporary or rolling wall.

The plans address several concerns brought up in meetings with staff, faculty, students and the public, such as safe traffic patterns.

The schools will replace William Henry Middle School (fifth and sixth grades) and Central Middle School (seventh and eighth).

William Henry Middle School will then house Kent County Community School and Kent County ILC, two state-funded programs for students with disabilities. Kent County ILC will move out of a leased space. The money for renovations is included in the state bond bill pending approval this year.

Central will become an elementary school for all students from East Elementary and Fairview Elementary. Those schools will turn into early childhood centers for preschool and kindergarten.

Since the new middle schools do not include fifth grade, all fifth graders will stay in their elementary school for one more year.

District residents and the state will share the cost of the $113.2 million project, which includes constructing the new middle schools and minor renovations to Central Middle School.

District residents approved three questions in an April 9 referendum. The first, asking for taxpayer support for the middle schools’ construction, passed 1,746 to 801.

The second asked taxpayers for enhancements to the middle schools and for minor renovations, like adding bathrooms, to convert Central Middle into an elementary school. A third question asked for revenue to support operational costs.

The district plans to break ground for the new middle schools sometime between April and the summer, superintendent Dan Shelton said. Construction will finish by April 2023 with a move-in date of August 2023.

For more details, attend the meeting Feb. 3 or call 302-857-4201.

Public Meeting

  • When: Monday, Feb. 3 at 6 p.m.
  • Where: Sentrum (second floor) of Dover High School, 1 Dover High Drive, Dover
  • Info: Superintendent’s Office at 302-857-4201.