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A New Millennium

Featured Photo from A New Millennium

Millennium middle schoolers are settling in to an innovative new campus.

What a way to start the 2018-2019 school year! After a year of excitement and anticipation, students, teachers, and staff at Millennium Middle School finally stepped foot onto their brand-new and beautifully completed state-of-the-art campus.

Last summer, Lake Mary Life provided a preview of the plans for the new Millennium Middle School. And thanks to a personal tour by the school’s principal Dr. Margaret Gunderson, we’re pleased to share an inside look at the performing/visual arts magnet school and some of its amazing new amenities.

Located on State Road 46 in Sanford, just four miles from its previous campus (which is now home to Seminole High School’s new ninth-grade center), the new school is now neighbor to Midway Elementary School. The Millennium campus has five separate buildings including a spectacular Performing Arts Center. The whole campus is connected via outdoor covered walkways and a central, palm-tree-shaded courtyard.

The performing and visual arts-focused design is immediately evident as you enter the school. In classrooms located across the hall from the front office, you might hear and see students plucking away at their guitar strings or busily trying their hands at sewing and costume design in the art room. The school’s media center is naturally bright with plenty of reading resources, modern and colorful seating, a charging station for phones/tablets/laptops, and classrooms fully equipped with new technology for digital media/design projects and the school’s news and video production teams.

Directly across from Millennium Middle School’s main entrance is the Apple Café, the school’s new restaurant offering a variety of nutritious meals provided by Seminole County Public Schools dining services. A charging station is there, too, as is a special outdoor seating area that Dr. Gunderson says will be reserved for students who earn the privilege to eat outside.  
All classrooms are now stationed in one large, three-story building, with each grade on its own level.

“We have all classrooms and no more portables,” says Dr. Gunderson, who expects to welcome more than 1,600 students to the school this year.

Each of the three floors include office suites with a designated dean, administrator, and guidance counselor. In addition to classrooms, creatively-designed and cozy seating areas are placed throughout the hallways to allow for small-group projects, teacher meetings, and more.

“These will make nice conference areas,” says Dr. Gunderson. “We have four instructional coaches who can use this area for small pull-out times with students, and teachers can collaborate.”

Adjacent to the classroom building, the jaw-dropping Performing Arts Center features music suites, dance studios, and an auditorium that seats 800 people. It’s almost 50 percent larger than the school’s old auditorium.

Dr. Gunderson says the school will still accommodate all its existing programs with a special focus on the visual and performing arts taught by 10 performing arts teachers and four visual arts teachers. Chorus rooms have designated spaces for ensemble and solo practices, and students will also enjoy the new keyboarding lab. The school will also have digital devices in every classroom to allow for a blended learning approach, where students can work independently, collaboratively, or in small groups with their teacher, all during one class period.

At first glance, you might mistake Millennium Middle’s gymnasium for that of a high school. The well-lit court is lined with plenty of new basketball hoops. It has wide bleachers and ample space for school functions and endless sports activities.  

“The gymnasium is phenomenal,” says Dr. Gunderson. And the school’s fitness center is equally as impressive, offering treadmills, spin bikes facing a large TV, rowing machines, a weight-lifting machine, stair climbers, and more for student use.

With so much innovation and modern design, the school’s décor does not leave out the importance of school spirit and pride. The Millennium Falcons’ colors of purple, black, and silver are seen throughout the school, from the eccentric tile décor in the bathroom walls, to the colorful lockers in the locker room, on inspirational phrases along the halls, and on the bleachers in the gym. Let’s not forget the school’s gorgeous Falcon logo found on the center court of the gymnasium.

A middle school with such incredible new features and dedicated teachers is bound to inspire countless students in our community for decades to come. Enjoy your new school and have a wonderful year, Falcons!

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