Visitors to Moon Area Middle School can be excused for not recognizing it for the building it used to be.
Skylights and large expanses of glass windows bathe the corridors in natural light. Safe, wide stairways carry occupants between floors. Freshly painted, bright red lockers await students’ books and other essentials.
It’s certainly a look for the 21st century for a building that originally was constructed way back in 1964.
For more than four decades, it served as Moon Area High School. The newly renovated middle school opened in September.
On Saturday, school officials invited members of the community to join a dedication ceremony, complete with a ribbon cutting. Representatives of each of the school district’s 12 grades wielded the scissors to a round of applause throughout the newly redesigned Moon Area Middle School auditorium, which had many of its 766 seats filled for the event.
Joining the festivities were the school’s band and chorus to entertain the crowd with a couple of spirited performances, including “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
After the ceremony, visitors toured the school, which has a split purpose between its two floors: the Upper Middle School, for seventh- and eighth-graders, and the Lower Middle School, for students in fifth and sixth grades.
“For all of the concern that preceded the fifth grade included into the middle school, I can tell you that it’s a natural fit,” Dr. Donna Milanovich, Moon Area superintendent, said during the dedication ceremony.
“The fifth-graders love their new school and the new responsibilities and learning experiences that have come their way.”
Other speakers included Melissa Heasley, middle school principal; Megan Kirchner, assistant principal; Bob Naugle, representing project architect Eckles Architecure & Engineering Inc.; Sandra McCurdy, school board president; and Dr. Cynthia Zurchin, assistant superintendent.
According to the school district, the completion of the middle school represents the second phase of campus reconstruction, which also has included a new high school. The final phase calls for removing the now-vacant former middle school, building a new practice field and creating additional parking.