Stagebarn Middle School opens

September 6, 2018

SUMMERSET — Like other schools throughout the Meade School District, Stagebarn Middle School had some first-day glitches, but the remainder of the first week at the new school was relatively smooth, said Principal Dave Olson.

“After that first day, it seemed like everybody has gotten into the flow of things,” Olson said Friday.

He admitted he didn’t sleep too well the night before the first day of school.

“There was a lot going through my head that night,” he said. “I felt pretty good coming into it. I’ve had a lot of help from the staff. They have done a great job of helping me plan, double checking and making sure we didn’t miss anything.”

Olson called it a “healthy anxiety.”

On the first day they set in motion everything they had been working on for quite some time.

“That allowed us to kind of take a step back and be present in the moment,” Olson said. “For the most part it is amazing how teachers just know what to do. They take over and just do it. They have done a great job this week.”

The Meade School Board approved building the new Stagebarn Middle School in the fall of 2016. The 100,000 square-foot school was built on land the district owned between Sturgis Road and Interstate 90, facing Sturgis Road, about a half-mile north of Stagebarn Canyon Road at Exit 48. The $16.5 million middle school was constructed on the site of the district’s old Stagebarn Elementary School.

The new school is designed to accommodate 450 students in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8. District officials opted to open the school this fall with just fifth, sixth and seventh grades. Eighth grade will be added next fall. Enrollment was at 320 students on the first day.

“We can always take more, but that’s a good number for right now as far as the resources we have,” Olson said.

Fifth and sixth graders and their teachers made the move from Piedmont Valley Elementary School to the new Stagebarn Middle School. Seventh graders who would have gone to Sturgis Williams Middle School now attend at Stagebarn.

There were six teachers who moved from Piedmont Valley along with three from Sturgis Williams.

“We pulled from both schools and hired some new teachers as well,” Olson said.

Staff at the new school totals 30 with 13 certified teachers. Stagebarn shares music staff and library staff with other schools in the district.

Among those teachers is Kim Cunningham. She finds the new school “amazing.”

“The kids just love it. It is so open, inviting and comfortable for the kids. They are just happy when they come here,” Cunningham said.

She said students enjoy working or hanging out in the commons area between classrooms.

“The natural lighting is beautiful,” she said.

The new school has long been needed in the Piedmont/Summerset areas, says Cunningham, who has taught in the Meade School District for 30 years.

“To start over my 30th year in this amazing facility gives me goosebumps,” she said. “I started out when this used to be a pole-barn back in the day. The advancements this district has made for the students in this area is wonderful.”

The pole-barn of which Cunningham speaks is the former Stagebarn Elementary School just off Sturgis Road on the same property where the new school sits.

“This new school is more than I ever imagined. This is a place where kids want to come. It’s everything they could ever hope for,” she said.

The community from which Stagebarn draws its students is very proud of the new facility, Olson said.

“The district really gave them a first-class facility here. It’s nice. We’re pretty lucky,” he said.

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