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Mars Area School District

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Students Return to Middle School

Sept. 8, 2019

Dear Families and Friends of Mars Area School District,

As you are aware, Mars Area Middle School has been undergoing extensive renovations since school was dismissed in June. New classrooms have been designed and improved for art, family and consumer science, library/media studies, robotics, technology education, and TV production. Additionally, the school’s Commons area, including the cafeteria, kitchen, and serving lines, has been redesigned and updated. We are very near the end of Phase 1 of the project and are excited to welcome our middle school students back on Monday, Sept. 9.

Most recently, we have completed the following important actions:       

  • Air monitoring for particulates and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) is ongoing. Preliminary results indicate that air quality meets EPA standards. Certified results are expected on Monday and will be posted on the District’s website,, as soon as they become available. Additional testing will be conducted until the project’s end.
  • The following areas are fully operational and have passed the required inspections:
    • Kitchen/Serving Line;
    • Electrical;
    • Plumbing;
    • HVAC systems;
    • Fire Alarm System.
  • All bathroom partitions/fixtures are installed, and temporary signs are posted.
  • The public address and phone systems have been tested and are working properly.
  • Adams Township approved a temporary occupancy permit, pending completion of the project.

A deep, commercial cleaning of the entire building is underway and will continue through this evening.

Because this project is being completed in phases, there will be ongoing construction in the evenings and behind walls, locked doors, and/or outside of the building going forward. The phased construction schedule is also why there are areas still in need of flooring, lighting, paint, and ceiling tiles. Construction activity will be planned to avoid disruption to the instructional day.

All Phase 1 actions have been completed on schedule, with the exception of the gymnasium floor. The new floor is anticipated to be ready in about two weeks. In the meantime, physical education classes will be held in alternate locations. There will be other building sections that will not be available at the start of the new school year, as those areas are scheduled for later renovation phases. Students and staff will have access to those restricted areas as soon as they are ready.

Please note that all on-site construction workers, even though they will not be in direct contact with students, have the required clearances. Also, an additional armed police officer will be on duty and provide perimeter security on the middle school grounds. This officer will work with another armed police officer and a security guard until all interior classroom doors are delivered and installed.

This much-needed renovation has been a fast-paced project with a tremendous amount of work occurring over the summer months. With the coordinated efforts of many and a slightly extended summer break, we are able to safely accommodate our seventh- and eighth-graders and staff at the middle school during the final project phases. We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we progress through the final phase in December and encourage home-to-school communications to share any questions and/or concerns.

We look forward to a great 2019-2020 School Year.


Dr. Wesley W. Shipley