The New Morgan School: A Final Update


Written by Michael Baker |

After many months of preparing, voting, and designing, the plans for The New Morgan School are almost complete. Clinton Public Schools administration and the Board of Ed are all excited and ready to break ground.  Mrs. Hagness, principal at Morgan said, “the design plans for the school are just about complete and will be sent to the state for approval.” State approval is the final process necessary before FIP, the constructions company, will break ground.

Recently, The Morgan Building Committee and Newman Architects held a meeting/presentation here at Morgan in the Learning Commons for citizens of Clinton to come view and ask questions. Jerry Vise from Newman Architects spoke: “The new school has received approval from all the various town committees,” and, “renovating the current building would cost more than building a new one.” Many of the people here in Clinton are still not happy that the new school was approved, but it cannot be stopped now. Joe Krauss, Richard Munday, and superintendent of Clinton Schools Jack Cross were also among those who spoke at the meeting. Richard Munday, in charge of design principles, spoke of the design of the school as well as the reason for it’s location. He said, “the school will be set back from route 81 so it settles into the landscape, and it will barely break the tree line.” They did not want to make an eyesore;  instead they wanted it to be a town landmark that would be impressive and nice looking. The academy design for 9th and 10th grade area and the 11th and 12th grade area still remains the same. Doing this will reduce the amount of preps a teacher has because they will be mainly teaching only two grades. After having spoken with many teachers, some of them say they enjoy teaching three or four grade levels. Many do not feel comfortable with how scheduling and teaching will work, but it is something we have to learn more about.

One of the most prominent issues addressed at the meeting, and during many of my interviews with Mrs. Hagness was security equipment and procedures. Munday and Brooks both spoke about this topic. They were pelted with many questions from concerned adults in the audience. Brooks said, “security will start on the street. We want to know who is coming on site and who is leaving.” There will be cameras that face towards route 81 to monitor cars and other vehicles that come onto the site; if a vehicle comes that is not expected, then they will monitored as they come on campus. Cameras will be place on every exterior door to the building to watch for people and students who may try to leave the building.  Munday also spoke of a system which can lock down certain portions of the building. For example, if there is an emergency in the 9th/10th area of the building, students can be evacuated to another area, and the doors to the 9th/10th wing will shut and lock. As Munday said, “It will be as if that sections has flown off and are no longer part of Morgan.” Parents and other members of town asked them questions such as: will the glass be bullet proof or made to fracture instead of shatter; what about doors?, who will be monitoring these cameras?, and will large windows create a security issue for those who may try to shoot out windows? Many of the questions were vaguely answered because they may still be in the process of figuring these problems out.

One of the final topics highlighted at the meeting was technology at the new school. They are constructing the building to have one main fiber optic  cable that goes into the school and that will be split into different connections across the entire campus. The plans include each classroom having a router so that every student will be able to use a laptop and tablet at the same time. Brooks said, “we are building the school with space and making it so it will be flexible with the ever changing technology. We want to be able to upgrade if needed.” Students and faculty members were impressed by what they say they are going to do with technology at The New Morgan but want to see it to believe it.

Newman Architects, Board of Ed, The Morgan Building Committee, and FIP are all prepared and ready to get going. After the state approves the plans for the school, which is thought to be done my January of next year (2014), construction will begin right away. The soils on the site were tested and 99% of the soil samples met guidelines; rumors about the ground being contaminated were not true, so they do not have to be cleaned before construction can begin. Finally, if no delays hinder construction, the school should be completed in July of 2015.

Other Information/Statistics:

  • 150 student parking space; enough for all driving students
  • Morgan will be connected to the Joel athletic fields
  • Bus and car traffic have different routes, no more clogged entrance
  • Roofing will be able to take solar panels if the need comes
  • New Morgan will not be categorized as a FEMA shelter
  • Morgan will hold 600 students; 700 maximum, and 75 faculty