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Tennyson Middle School plans unveiled

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Students and teachers at the new Tennyson Middle School will find it in the same space, but not the same place.

Waco Independent School District trustees Thursday night got an early look at plans for the school, part of a voter-approved $355 million bond issue last November, with renderings and an animated video fly-by from Austin architectural firm O'Connell Robertson.

The school uses a similar two-wing floor plan to that approved for the new G.W. Carver Middle School but rotated to fit the rectangular campus and allow for the property's electrical line easements, architect Doug Dawson said. As a result, the new Tennyson will face Sanger Avenue with parking and the school's track and athletics field fronting Tennyson Drive.

The Waco ISD board of trustees approved this initial design of a new Tennyson Middle School at a meeting in April 2022. Video source: O'Connell Robertson

The new building will be constructed largely behind the existing school and over half of the current track, with a drop-off drive running in front of the school from North 60th Street to Sanger Avenue. The wing facing 60th Street will contain mostly classrooms while that facing Sanger Avenue will have the school's gymnasiums, fine arts and performance spaces and athletics rooms. The school's offices and front entrance will be where the two wings join.

The new school will have perimeter sidewalks, Dawson said.

WISD Bond (copy)

More portable buildings will arrive at Tennyson Middle School next month, in preparation for demolition of a classroom wing to make room for construction of a new school building. New construction is expected to start in January and wrap up by fall 2024.

Change for the existing campus will start next month, when 10 portable buildings will be placed in the parking lots facing Tennyson Drive. Four of the buildings are already in use at the school, and six more, with two classrooms each, will be added in preparation for the demolition of a classroom wing this summer. The portable buildings will remain in use for two school years.

Construction of the new Tennyson building is slated to start in January with an anticipated opening in fall 2024. It is the third school funded by the 2021 bond issue with planning underway, following Waco High School and Carver Middle School. Rounding out the bond issue projects is a new Kendrick Elementary School and expansion of South Waco Elementary School. Carver Middle School is expected to open in fall 2023 with Tennyson Middle School and the first phase of Waco High School in fall 2024, Kendrick Elementary in fall 2025 and the completion of Waco High later that year.

Groundbreaking for the new Carver Middle School will take place at 9 a.m. Friday at 1601 J.J. Flewellen Road.

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