Waverly-Shell Rock celebrates old school, prepares for new build - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waverly-Shell Rock celebrates old school, prepares for new building

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WAVERLY (KWWL)-- Waverly-Shell Rock is closing a chapter on one school as it prepares to open another.  The district's junior high school was heavily damaged during the floods of 2008.  Not long after the floods, the school board voted to construct a new middle school. Monday night, the community celebrated the old school during the last home athletic event to be held there.

The Waverly-Shell Rock Junior High band pumped up the crowd before the Go-Hawks basketball teams took to the school gym's hardwood for the last time.  It's the end of an era for the community.  Former school principal Jim McGrew sat in the gym for the very first game played, and Monday, watched the final game played there.

"In this particular gymnasium that they're playing the final game, we not only had lunch here, we had games here, but we also had school parties.  And just associating with the kids is the thing I'll remember the most," McGrew said.

Students have also made many fond memories at the school.

"I like this school a lot.  I moved here in 5th grade, so I haven't been here that long.  But it's been a good ride," said student Tonya Marks.

While the current Waverly-Shell Rock Junior High will close its doors at the end of the current academic year, a brand new school that's taking shape across town will open for classes this fall.

"The new facility is just going to create more opportunities for kids to be in the classroom in a shared resource area that's a large gathering space, to a new media center, to a large cafeteria...so just a lot of options for getting kids together with teachers," said principal Steve Kwikkel.

Kwikkel is looking forward to working in a new school building for the first time in his career. But he knows the community will miss the current school.  So during Monday night's basketball game, time was taken to recognize the building and to say goodbye.  Many in attendance wore school colors and brought a whole lot of school spirit, making memories that will carry on long after the school closes.

Voters in the Waverly-Shell Rock District approved a $19 million bond referendum in 2009 to build the new school.  It will house 5th-8th graders, replacing both the junior high and Washington Irving Elementary which both received heavy flood damage in 2008.

One of the notable features of the new school is that the auditorium will double as a safe room, built to withstand winds from anything up to an EF5 tornado.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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