Students may have cleared out of Lowell Middle School last week, but the building was still abuzz with activity as construction workers put the finishing touches on the new 7th and 8th grade wing. When classes resume next week, 7th and 8th graders will move into the wing while 6th grade classrooms will move to the front of the Foreman Street side of the building.
Fire and police representatives, along with school board members, were invited to tour the addition in advance of its opening, and Lowell’s First Look joined them for a peek at the new space.
Before touring the building, school and public safety representatives accepted the gift of an automated external defibrillator (AED) for the 7th and 8th grade wing. The donation came from the School Emergency Response Coalition (SERC) with the generous support of River Valley Credit Union.
Kevin McGraw, founder of SERC, says the organization has distributed 30 defibrillators to West Michigan schools since its founding in 2015. The non-profit’s volunteers — who come from police, fire and EMT backgrounds — also provide CPR and AED training to students.
The presentation occurred in the new middle school library which includes new shelving units, books for class and personal reading and study tables. After receiving the AED, it was time to look around the rest of the addition.
The addition connects to the existing building, and a new entrance — to the left — joins the existing doors to the right.
Superintendent Nate Fowler says that, for now, the rear entrances will be used only by parents dropping off students. However, when work begins on the front façade next year, buses will be added to the mix as well.
Inside the front door, students will find new lockers. Additional lockers are also found on the second floor. Since the lockers are short, they offer a clear line of sight between classrooms.
To get to the second floor, students can use a main staircase which was still under construction during our visit. This light fixture hanging over the stairwell is one of the many red accents in the building.
The building is equipped with an elevator as well, but it isn’t intended for general student use.
On both floors, there are a number of rooms that can be used as small group study spaces.
The science labs are spacious with sinks lining two walls and a large floor space.
Accordion-style windows on one wall can be opened for teachers who want to work collaboratively with another class.
Classrooms have whiteboards, bulletin boards…
…and storage space.
The new addition was made possible through the support of Lowell voters who passed a bond proposal in 2019 to pay for renovations and upgrades to district buildings and facilities.