Activity Center Opening

Ribbon cutting held for locally-built Junior High Activity Center​
Posted on 02/06/2024
Ribbon-cutting ceremony.

A few dozen school supporters and those instrumental in the project helped celebrate the ribbon cutting for the 8,700-square-foot Activity Center on Friday, Feb. 2, at Poplar Bluff Junior High.

Designed locally by Dille and Pollard Architecture and constructed by C.E. Norton, the facility features three classroom spaces, a large multipurpose room with 12-foot high ceilings, a state-of-the-art weight room, restrooms and storage.

“We’re super excited for it to finally come to fruition,” said Candace Warren, Junior High principal. “The new state-of-the-art facility provides a much better educational learning environment for our students, plus a building visible from the highway that we can all be proud of.”

The previous structure, in the exact location at the backend of Fred M. Morrow stadium, represented one the oldest buildings across campus dating back to 1937, originally housing industrial arts and special education programming, according to district records. The dilapidated facility was razed by Strack Excavating following the 2021/22 school year in order to create space for ground to be broken on the Activity Center, with Smith & Company providing the civil engineering in tandem with Case Engineering.

Design & modeling and medical detectives electives under Project Lead the Way, along with health education, assumed occupancy of the new classroom wing in January. The previous plan was to include a band practice area, but participation is more significant than it has ever been, according to Warren, so seventh and eighth grade are instead being split between the band room in the main building and lower gym, where sound panels will be installed. The multipurpose room is designed for physical education circuit training, cheer practice, running sports drills, hosting team meetings and featuring guest speakers, Warren noted.

The weight room was formerly housed in the lobby above the main gymnasium, also 87 years old. Junior High physical education teacher Jeff Mannon is credited for working with Show Me Weights to equip the new headquarter with custom racks, cardio machines, free weights, kettlebells, medicine balls, battle ropes and more. The walls were wrapped with a Mules theme designed by Southeast Signs and Graphics.

“Between the new FEMA building and classroom addition of several years ago, and now the latest Activity Center, we are happy to continue to help establish a modern-day learning environment while preserving the campus’ rich history, and maximizing our footprint on this historic school site next to one of Poplar Bluff’s busiest intersections,” stated Dr. Aaron Cornman, R-I superintendent. “We were fortunate to be able to finance this project out of district balances with careful management of our capital project budget by the Board of Education and previous school administration, while in large part keeping the work local.”


Cutline: Hosted by the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the Activity Center on Friday, Feb. 2, at PBJHS.

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