Smithfield Herald

North Middle breaks ground

Gold-colored shovels await school and county leaders.
Gold-colored shovels await school and county leaders.

Two weeks before the start of school, Johnston County leaders broke ground for a new North Johnston Middle School at 435 Oil Company Road, Micro.

The ceremony on Aug. 12 drew more than 60 people, including graduates of Micro High School, teachers who will work in the new school and several rising students.

When it opens, the middle school, with room for 800 students, will stand as the 45th school in Johnston County.

The current middle school building, located at 301 E. Main St. in Micro, will become an elementary school. Both schools will open for the 2015-16 school year.

Jeff Carver, chairman of the Johnston County Board of County Commissioners, called the school a “win-win for everybody.”

Micro Mayor Jim Wiesner agreed. “It’s good for the residents, and hopefully business will follow the school,” he said. “Micro’s on the move. We have new people moving in and have a lot of the best schools in Johnston county.”

Wiesner also noted that the construction project would reduce flooding at neighboring houses. Among other things, the project includes a retention pond.

Rhonda Johnson, who teaches science at North Johnston Middle, said the new campus would be an improvement over the old. “We’ve been so land-locked, we’ve had parking issues, and activity buses can’t come and go easily,” she said. “It's going to alleviate a lot of traffic.”

Johnson and her fellow teachers said they are excited about the new school’s technology infrastructure, which will have the capacity to allow every student to have his or her own tablet or computer.

Johnston on the move

This year, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction projects that Johnston schools will welcome 34,096 students on Aug. 25.

A $57 million bond issue is paying for the new middle school and other building projects, including a new gym under construction on the Princeton High School campus and 12 additional classrooms taking shape on the River Dell Elementary campus.

School officials are in the early stages of planning a new middle school in the Cleveland community.

“We are the second fastest growing school district in North Carolina, growing about a school a year,” said Johnston schools spokesman Tracey Peedin Jones. “We have to stay on top of our building projects to make sure students have the facilities that we need.”