Wilkes School Superintendent Mark Byrd announced during Monday night’s Wilkes Board of Education meeting that the debt from constructing the four Wilkes middle schools in 2000 was paid off in full as of December.

“This will allow the school system to utilize our monthly payments of approximately $54,600 for other things such as renovations, roofs, parking lots and other new construction,” said Byrd.

The school board recently approved a contract for having drawings made for constructing a new classroom building at Mount Pleasant Elementary School to replace a building constructed in the 1950s.

In 2000, Wilkes school officials worked with architects Frank Williams and Randy Baker on designing, bidding and constructing the county’s first middle schools — one in each district.

Dr. Joe Johnson was Wilkes school superintendent then and the school board members were Essie Hayes, Betsy Welborn, Karen Reeves, Rudy Holbrook and Kirk Walker.  Welborn was chairman and Dr. Ila Baugham was vice chairman of the board when ground was broken on Sept. 9, 2000.

The total budget for the four middle schools was $40 million.

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