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Progress

New Berg School expected to be ready for students by 2019

Construction scheduled to start this summer

An artists' rendering of the new Berg Middle School gives a glimpse at the structural design and color 
scheme. The new building will be located directly north of the current middle school.
An artists' rendering of the new Berg Middle School gives a glimpse at the structural design and color scheme. The new building will be located directly north of the current middle school.

To borrow from the language of Ron Burgundy in the movie “Anchorman” — I don’t know how to put this, but the new Berg Middle School is kind of a big deal.

The people in the Newton School District voted last fall overwhelmingly in favor of the new building. Since then, the necessary steps toward construction have been taken.

The estimated $38.3 million dollar project’s design development was approved late last year. Already in 2017, the school district has approved the final site for the building and given the green light for the construction documents.

Taking up about 170,000 square feet, the new building will be able to fit up to 1,000 students organized into eight learning communities. Students grades 5-8 are expected to start filling the new facility directly north of the existing Berg building in 2019.

The new school was designed by FRK Architects and Engineers. FRK plans to start taking bids for the project on May 11 and come back to the school board on May 22 for the project recommendation.

If the process continues as scheduled, there will be shovels in the dirt this summer.

“We are very excited for the new middle school and are convinced it will have a positive impact on the learning environment for both students and staff,” said Berg Principal Lisa Sharp.

The outside of the building will be dark gray brick with a cardinal red element to both the front and back entrance. Inside, the plan is to utilize a bright-colored carpet scheme at the entryway of each learning community.

Superintendent Bob Callaghan said the new building sends a message to the community that education is a priority.

“A new building provides a very positive impact to the students and to the community because they will see this commitment towards providing quality facilities for their children to go to school,” Callaghan said.

New schools are expensive to construct. However, Callaghan said it’s important to note the funding sources for the new Berg complex come from a different stream than the funding for staff and curriculum.

“That financial commitment (of more than $38 million) has had no educational impact because the funding sources are totally and completely separate,” Callaghan said.

Even if the books in the new building aren’t leather-bound like those bragged about in Will Ferrell’s “Anchorman,” it is still a big deal for Newton.

Contact Justin Jagler at 641-792-3121 ext 6532 or jjagler@newtondailynews.com

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