Betty Brink is on vacation in Florida but emailed us this blog entry and asked that we post it, so here it is:

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for tomorrow, August 12 at 10 a.m. to celebrate the opening of a state-of-the-art green school that was finished on time and under budget — just in time for the Fort Worth schools to get some good press for a change. It is the Jean McClung Middle School, located at 3000 Forest Street on the site of the old Handley High School.

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New superintendent Walter Dansby was the guiding hand behind the construction project before he was tapped to fill the super’s post after the resignation of Melody Johnson in May. “The hard work of the Capital Improvement Program staff and the Program Manager and the collaboration of campus staff, parents, contractors and architects have allowed us to complete this quality project on time, while saving significant dollars,” Dansby said in a press release.

The 162,000 sq. ft. school will be home to 910 students in grades six through eight. Named for a former board member who served 20 years before she was defeated by Tobi Jackson last year, the school has 26 classrooms, two gyms, a weight-fitness center and an outdoor athletic area along with art, science, music, drama, career and computer lab rooms.

Most importantly the school is heated and cooled by a geothermal system and utilizes natural light throughout the buildings, which will translate to significant savings in utility costs, Dansby said in an earlier interview. The $34.3 million campus came in at around $212 per square foot and was completed in 16 months.

Hmmm. Do you think the board of Tarrant County College should have brought Dansby in as a consultant when it started the Taj Mahal on the Trinity (aka its ill-fated downtown campus project) in 2006? Maybe the taxpayers wouldn’t be paying more than $1,500 per sq. ft. to complete the monstrosity on the bluff, still not quite finished after 5 years.