April 19, 2021

A brand new Berg

New NCSD middle school to leave a lasting impression

Even as the wide open atrium of the new Berg Middle School is teeming with energetic students, there’s a certain sense of grandiosity and scale that can be felt as soon as a first-time visitor walks through those glass doors.

As the saying goes: first impressions are the most lasting.

After a long and arduous wait, the new Berg Middle School has been constructed and open for learning. The building itself cost roughly $27 million to construct; coupled with the new furnishings and other amenities, that total increased to approximately $33 million.

The public was invited to attend an open house in December before classrooms were officially ready. After winter break, more than 950 students in grades 5-8 were treated to a brand new, state-of-the-art school, a project that was five years in the making, the Newton Daily News previously reported.

The modern industrial look of the atrium (or student commons area), with its polished concrete flooring, high ceilings and large windows, is a motif that extends to other parts of Berg Middle School. A large staircase overlooking the space is the perfect vantage point to take in the sights where students have their lunch and meet for extracurricular activities before and after school.

Berg Middle School houses approximately 60 classrooms with 950 square feet of space, many of which are equipped with interactive learning technology. There’s still plenty of space to spare, too. Callaghan told the Newton Daily News in December 2018 that the school is prepared for future growth of up to 1,250 students.

Furthermore, all four grade levels are designated their own learning “pod,” which have been color coordinated to purple, green, orange and teal. The color schemes extend throughout the pod space and have been integrated into the carpet and building foundation. Lockers have also been installed for each grade in the middle school.

Gender neutral, single-stall restrooms have also been placed in each student pod, as well as dedicated teacher learning and training rooms. Equipped with the same interactive technology as regular classrooms, these facilities can be used by teachers to collaborate, problem solve and set up lesson plans.

Administrators highlighted Berg Middle School’s energy efficiencies. The building receives a fair amount of natural light thanks to the abundances of large windows and skylights throughout the school. The middle school is also equipped with 100% LED lighting in places where natural light will not suffice. A geothermal heating and cooling system also improve energy efficiency.

Classrooms also come equipped with interactive projectors and adjustable standing-to-sitting desks. Wireless internet is accessible from every corner of the school. Several full-sized kitchens have also been installed into the family and consumer science room, along with a demonstration table and mirror.

Security was a top priority when constructing the new middle school. As a result, all entryways are locked during the school day and will only be accessible by staff through key fobs. The school is also come prepared with high-definition surveillance cameras.

Adjacent to the new middle school are piles of rubble, the remains of “Old Berg.” Now that it’s gone, crews will eventually create a new parking lot, track and practice football field, as well as a hallway connecting what remains of the old building to the “New Berg.”

Construction is expected to be fully completed by August.

Newton Daily News Editor Mike Mendenhall contributed to this report.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com