Summerset’s new Stagebarn Middle School is on pace to welcome its inaugural class of students on schedule for the 2018-19 school year.

“We’re excited to get a new facility up and going and add it to our fleet of buildings,” said Meade School District 46-1, business manager Brett Burditt during a Tuesday progress meeting and tour at the new school, located on Sturgis Road, just west of I-90 Exit 48.

And as an added bonus to taxpayers, Burditt said the project is coming in under budget.

Even with final amenities yet to be decided to finish off the project, the final project cost should be about $16.5 million.

"We budgeted $18 (million) but with some competitive bids coming in and stuff very reasonable, we were able to drop that down," Burditt said.

Primary contractor Scull Construction first moved dirt for the 110,000 square-foot school last April on a 34-acre site, with an official groundbreaking on July 26.

Burditt said the school’s 7th and 8th grade wing is finishing up, with crews installing carpeting in the 5th and 6th grade wing.

Once the lobby and commons area is done, the district is planning an open house for mid-April to introduce the public to the new school.

The gymnasium and food service will be the last to be completed, around mid-June. Furniture and other equipment is scheduled to arrive around the first of July.

“We hope to be in there a little earlier than that, but July 1 is when we think they’ll let us sign off and start moving in,” Burditt said.

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Burditt said nearby Piedmont Elementary School is at full capacity, with little room for expansion at that site.

The new school was needed for the Piedmont Valley, situated in the I-90 corridor between Sturgis and Rapid City. Census projections show the area continuing to grow at about eight percent, he said.

School district officials expect enrollment at the new middle school next fall to be at more than 300 students, with staffing dependent on enrollment. The building is designed for a maximum of 600 students in grades 5-8.

The school district’s master plan for the middle school site includes potential expansion with a high school and an athletic field and track.

“We knew we had to do something to serve the district other than just add a few classrooms,” Burditt said.

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