With the help of the Moore MST Magnet School band, cheerleaders and entire student body, the school district broke ground on the new campus.
The $31.5 million project is among six projects included in the $160.5 million bond package approved by Tyler ISD voters in May 2013.
It is one of three middle schools in the package. The school is scheduled to open in fall 2015.
School Principal Claude Lane said as excited as the school community is about the new campus, it’s the people inside the school that make it a great place.
They already have a great culture, people and traditions at the current campus, he said. And the plan is to continue that in the new school.
“It’s going to enhance what we already have,” said Lane, who has been Moore’s principal for more than 16 years.
Some family members of the late J.R. Moore, the school’s namesake, attended Thursday’s event.
Moore was principal of Douglas Elementary School and Roberts Junior High School.
Faith Ann Moore Fortner, 76, Moore’s granddaughter and Karen Fortner Schwab, 39, Moore’s great-granddaughter, were in attendance.
“I feel so honored and it brings happy memories of my papa,” Mrs. Fortner said. “He was a wonderful, wonderful person. I wish everyone could have known him.”
THE NEW CAMPUS
As a magnet school specializing in math, science and technology, Moore offers advanced level math courses, science enrichment courses such as astronomy, meteorology and environmental science and integrates technology into all the courses.
However, the magnet school has had some limitations in its current building because of its age, Lane said. It is a 59-year-old building.
The new campus will have nine high school-equivalent science labs as well as computer labs and technology it doesn’t have today, Lane said.
The new school is being built on six acres on the north side of the campus’ lot with the new entrance facing East Devine Street instead of South Tipton Avenue as it does now.
The design features a strong entrance with a cast stone motif. The classroom portion of the building will be three stories, the athletics area two stories and the fine arts area one story. The campus also will feature a courtyard, football field and track.
In addition to the entire Moore student body, which is 869 students, former teachers and administrators were among those who attended the groundbreaking.
Martha Dunlap, 67, who taught language arts at Moore for 14 years, said it is exciting to see new generations carry on the campus’ spirit. Ms. Dunlap said the campus was like a family — “We just were joined at the hip.”
Al Harris, who served as principal for 17 years, attended the event. He said it was nostalgic to see a lot of the teachers he hired at the school.
He said the school has a rich history, having been recognized by the state for its academic performance and nationally for its drug free and disciplined environment.
Sixth-grader John Mark Grant, 12, said it is amazing to think he and his classmates are getting a new school.
Seventh-grader Stephany Flores, 12, said she is glad future students at Moore will be able to get a new school because they need it.
WRL General Contractors is building the campus and WRA Architects out of Dallas and Thompson Architectural Group in Tyler are the architects.