Starting Anew: Heritage Middle School nearly ready for occupants

Fifth-graders from several Frenship Independent School District elementary schools toured Heritage Middle School last week.

HMS is scheduled to open in August, but Julie Johnson, who has taken on some of the duties of one of two new assistant principals at HMS, said the dry weather has helped construction to move further ahead.

Parents and students will be able to tour the school Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m.

Some construction dust is still at the school. Workers continued their jobs last week as students toured the facility.

But the biggest pieces of the school seem to be in place. Bleachers are in the gyms and even the front entryway bears a message to students and staff: “Welcome to Heritage Middle School,” although it still needs a bit more paint to make it stand out.

Students were impressed with the new lockers, telling Johnson while she guided one tour that they’ve only had cubbies at elementary school.

They also liked performances from some of Frenship’s other middle school bands, looking through an art room and seeing the emergency chemical wash in a science classroom.

“This is the most important hallway for you next year,” Johnson said as she guided the students down the sixth-grade hallway.

Johnson pointed out that while in elementary school, students must walk in single-file lines and refrain from talking.

Once they are in middle school, they can walk at their own pace and talk quietly to friends in the hallways.

“You can be responsible for yourself,” Johnson said to the students.

Johnson also showed students the seventh-grade hallway, but because of time constraints, she did not show them the eighth-grade hallway, noting that they won’t be in it for a bit anyway.

On this particular tour, students were most excited about the art room, which surprised Johnson as she noted there is nothing artistic in the room just yet.

After the tour, students from all the tour groups met up in the school gym for a question-and-answer session with Principal Greg Hernandez.

The students’ first question concerned the cafeteria, which was not yet ready for students to tour last week.

But Hernandez told the students it would likely be available for them and their parents to look through this week.

Some students tried to convince Hernandez that they really had been able to chew gum in elementary school, while others asked about the dress code. (Wearing feathers, he said, is under review at the district level, but micro-shorts would “definitely not” be up for discussion.)

Hernandez told students they would be allowed to use their cell phones during lunch, but otherwise they should not be seen or heard on campus.

“My principal’s fund doesn’t have any money in it,” Hernandez said, noting that fines for having a cell phone out in class would go into the fund used for things around campus.

School will start at 7:50 a.m. and end at 3:10 p.m. next year, he said. Registration will be Aug. 8-10, and he told them that due to a change, they will be going to all seven classes daily instead of being on a block schedule.

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