A newly renovated and expanded Smyrna Middle School – formerly Smyrna High School – attracted alumni of both schools for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Sunday, Aug. 5.
Retired principal Robert “Bud” Raikes greeted students old and new. He first became the principal of Smyrna High School in the building, a position he held from 1973 until 2011.
The $11.7 million addition to the facility includes a new main entrance, front office, an expanded cafeteria, 14 new classrooms, four science labs, a computer lab, library and courtyard. The courtyard was created between the school’s old front entrance and the new addition, preserving the character of the original entryway, according to school official James Evans.
Smyrna Middle School Principal Steve Luker noted, “The great thing about this building is now our children do not have to leave one building to go to another building, which is not a good thing for a middle school. This is better. No more portables.”
Luker called the project a “huge endeavor” and described the renovation and expansion as “an effort by our entire school board, our county commissioners (and) our people who work for our school system.”
Smyrna Town Councilman H.G. Cole, a 1975 graduate of Smyrna High School, said he appreciated the efforts to preserve the old high school’s character.
“I can stand here, look around and see what I saw when I went to high school here,” he observed. “One of the things I’d like to see is even more cooperation between the county school system and the Smyrna Planning Department, so we can be certain that we have the roads in place to transport the kids safely to and from the schools. The consultation is already occurring.”
Smyrna Vice Mayor Marc Adkins, also a member of the Smyrna High Class of ’75, is proud of the growth that led to the project and wants to stay ahead of future growth. He said the creation of the Stewarts Creek Schools complex in Smyrna led to the construction of a lot of homes in the area.
“We all want the schools to be as good as they possibly can be,” Adkins said, adding he appreciates the collaboration with Rutherford County Schools. There is no requirement for the county school system to consult with the Town of Smyrna, but they do, he explained.
“Actually, when they build a school now in our city, they bring us their blueprints, everything, so we get a chance to consult and collaborate. They are including us, and we appreciate that a lot,” he said. “It all turned out well with Smyrna Middle School. The addition and renovation is awesome.”