The new Martin Luther King Middle School officially opened today in a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Mayor Jones and attended by a bevy of local government officials and members of Richmond Public Schools administration.
Making good an idea which has been around in some fashion since at least 2007, the $40 million project represents the first new middle school built in the city since Lucille Brown in 1998, and the first new school in the East End since Chimborazo Elementary in 1968.
Next up, the old school building will be demolished to make way for a new parking lot and an auxiliary gymnasium. During the summer of 2014, construction of a new pre-K facility and a dental clinic on the southern end of the campus will start.
Mayor Jones announced at the ceremony that he will be giving his annual state of the city speech in the auditorium of the new school later this month.
Among those attending this morning were School Board members, Shonda Harris-Muhammed, Donald Coleman, and Jeffrey Bourne, 6th District City Council Representative Ellen F. Robertson, the new RPS Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden, Interim Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Lewis, and Sheriff Woody.
The new MLK Middle School is the 3rd of 4 new schools that make up the Mayor’s “Building the Best Richmond” program. The new Broad Rock Elementary School and the new Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School opened in January 2013, and the new Huguenot High School is scheduled to open in January 2015.
The old MLK building was constructed in 1964, and initially served grades k-8.