The arrival of drier summer weather has sped up construction work on major projects in the Magnolia School District.

Superintendent John Ward told the school board on Monday that contractors are finally getting some dirt work done on the performing arts center at Magnolia High.

Exterior brick is being installed at the new 9th grade academy.

The ninth-grade academy is a $5,652,000 project that will move freshmen to the MHS campus during the year 2020. Once this is accomplished, class alignments will be shaken up across the district. Magnolia Junior High will be for grades 6, 7 and 8. Neighboring Central Elementary School will take in grades 3, 4 and 5. East Side Elementary will be the campus for the Kindergarten Center and grades 1 and 2.

The $8.7 million performing arts center is being built between Panther Arena and the softball field. The center will have an auditorium with more than 900 seats and an orchestra pit, a “black box” theater for smaller stage performances, classroom and storage space.

Also under construction are a $2,467,000 auxiliary gym at Magnolia High, and a $2 million student support and health center at Central Elementary.

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