Three years after planning began, the results of the effort to construct the new Corbin Middle School on the former St. Camillus Academy property were unveiled to the public Tuesday.
School officials held an open house and ribbon cutting at the $29 million facility off of Master Street that will house grades 6-8.
“And then some,” said Corbin Superintendent Dave Cox when asked if the facility was everything that was envisioned when the project began in 2015 adding that the craftsmanship, design and the way the project came together are top-notch.
Sister Mary Bezold of the Sisters of Divine Providence, who taught at St. Camillus, was among a contingent of nuns who came to Tuesday’s event.
“It is spectacular,” Bezold said after touring the new school.
Sister Alice Schmersal, who taught at St. Camillus in the 90s, was also on hand.
Schmersal said during her tenure at St. Camillus she would offer daily prayers for the students and their parents.
“Now I will be praying for the kids at Corbin Middle School to develop wisdom, age and grace,” Schmersal said.
Sister Juanita Nadicksbernd, who served as principal at St. Camillus from 2001-2009, said the sisters are proud of what the school system has done with the property.
“One of the things when we knew we could not continue with St. Camillus Academy, we searched for a purpose for the property. We really wanted it in anyway to continue as a home for education,” Nadicksbernd said.
Cox said the sisters’ offer to sell the property to the school system when they did along with the funding made available by the state show that this project was meant to be.
Cox added that while this project is another stepping stone in a series of construction projects across the district, it represents a large step.
“This time next year, every student in the district will be in a new or newly-renovated building,” Cox said.
“It is a gift from God,” Corbin School Board Chair Kim Croley said of the way the middle school project came together.
Croley told the audience assembled in the gymnasium that each of them and the whole Corbin community own a piece of the school because of the way they have supported the school system.
Retired Superintendent Ed McNeil, who served as superintendent when the process began in 2015, said the building is just a building, adding the next step will be the most difficult.
“It is what we do inside that building that is most important,” McNeil said.
Among those touring the building Tuesday was Haley Carr, who will be attending school there as a sixth-grader.
“It is really nice,” Carr said after completing her tour adding that she is impressed with the choir room and the media center and excited for the opportunity to take piano classes in the piano lab.
“It is absolutely gorgeous,” Carr said.
Teachers spent Monday getting their classrooms ready and adding some of their own personal touches.
Sixth grade language arts teacher Chasity Faulkner had set up her reading area, which included a Papasan chair.
“It is very different,” said Faulker who spent 16 years at Corbin Intermediate School.
While she had been shown on a diagram of the building which classroom would be hers, Faulkner said she got her first glimpse of the space last week.
“It is just beyond words,” Faulkner said adding that she especially loves the big windows that bring in so much light.
Science teacher Nerissa Calhoun is just down the hall in the sixth grade wing. While she likes the new classroom, Calhoun said she is even more excited that she has an actual science lab.
“I have never had a science lab,” said the veteran teacher who is entering her 32nd year in the classroom.
Band teacher Carolyn Garr said there are numerous things to love about her new room.
“I get to get out of the basement,” Garr said explaining that the band room at the old middle school was located in the basement of the gym.
“I didn’t retire so I could be here,” the 30-year veteran said.
One of the other features that has Garr excited is how quickly the band can take the show on the road to events held in the gymnasium.
Just across the hall is a door leading onto the stage facing out into the gym allowing instruments and equipment to be wheeled from the classroom to the stage in a matter of a few minutes.
Around the brand new building are features that commerate St. Camillus Academy.
As you walk in the main entrance the arch from the original St. Camillus building has been set into the wall outside the library.
The fountain that was installed to mark the original building’s location has a new home in the courtyard between the two classroom wings.
Finally, several of the holly trees that were part of the St. Camillus landscaping have been replanted along the drive leading from Master Street up to the building.
With this project completed, work continues on the expansion at Corbin Primary School.
The fourth grade will join the fifth grade at the intermediate school.
Renovations will also begin to the old middle school building.
Once those projects are completed the third grade will move to the primary school and the fourth and fifth grades will move to the old middle school. The elementary and intermediate school buildings will then be closed.