On Thursday, February 4, 2021, Alachua County Public Schools celebrated the topping-out for the redesign and redevelopment of Howard Bishop Middle School. This ceremony is held to mark the point when construction on a new building reaches its highest point. The event took place on the project site with a beam signing to commemorate the special occasion. Masks and social distancing protocols were in place.
Attendees included selected students and staff from Howard Bishop Middle School, Principal Mike Gamble, School Board members, Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon, and other district staff, as well as members of the design and construction team.
The middle school will accommodate approximately 850 students in grades 6-8. It is being constructed as part of the School Board of Alachua County’s ½ cent sales tax that passed in 2018. Designed by Paul Stressing Architects it is being built by Scorpio. Constructing this nearly entirely new school includes the demolition of 18 buildings on campus.
New construction of a highly efficient T- shaped, 2-story classroom wing will provide 32 new classrooms, two (2) new 1-story Science classrooms/labs, two (2) new Technology/Business Labs. In addition, the upgraded campus will offer a new and much larger Cafetorium. New band and choral facilities will be included in the Cafetorium’s adjacencies. This project also involves extensive renovations to buildings not selected for demolition. Seven existing classrooms, the Administration Building, and the Media Center will all be remodeled.
The updated site plan includes new student carpool/drop-off lanes, as well as new parking areas. The construction of the new middle school will be completed in July 2021 in time for occupancy by staff and enrollment in August 2021.