ESM proposes $29.4 million renovation to Pine Grove Middle School

An artist’s rendering of ESM’s proposed new building front for Pine Grove Middle School.

An artist’s rendering of ESM’s proposed new building front for Pine Grove Middle School. Provided

— It’s been 43 years since Pine Grove Middle School last saw significant construction work. That was 1969, when the school was first built.

School officials say the middle school is in need of serious repairs if it wants to fulfill ESM’s mission to create an exemplary learning community that will prepare students for the 21st century.

The ESM Board of Education approved a resolution on Oct. 15 to present a $29.4 million plan to voters for the renovation of the middle school. The plan, “A Greener, Greater Grove,” was developed after two years of planning, research and collaboration with community members.

Superintendent Donna DeSiato said the renovations are “clearly needed in order to really provide the type of quality education that our middle school students both deserve and need. The building in and of itself is very outdated, and it is compromising the educational delivery. So this project has become our highest priority.”

The district’s plans call for a complete overhaul of the 118,000-square-foot middle school and a 12,000-square-foot addition to the back of the school, which includes a brand new Community Café/Performing Arts Center big enough to accommodate the entire student body. The renovations will also include a newly designed library with a multi-purpose room.

Students in the school’s music groups are currently bussed to the high school for rehearsals, since there is no space big enough to accommodate the larger groups. There also isn’t a space big enough to hold the entire student body for assemblies. Both of these problems would be fixed with the addition, said Pine Grove Principal Kelly Sajnog.

The district began to explore options for upgrading Pine Grove in October 2010. The district and its design partners, King & King Architects, held a Community Café to involve residents. The goal was to seek residents’ input on facility changes the district could make to support student learning.

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