AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - One of the oldest campuses in the Auburn City Schools system is getting a major multi-million dollar makeover.
Construction is underway at J.F. Drake Middle school, originally built in 1957.
“When you get in to working on a building that’s 62 years old, you run into issues with wiring, piping, all those types of things,” said Auburn City Schools Public Relations Specialist Daniel Chesser. “It is more cost-effective to demo portions of this campus and rebuild as opposed to renovating.”
This $19.8 million project is going to be broken up into many different phases with the current demolition of the media center being a part of phase one. Chesser says there are a lot of features to look forward to.
“It’s going to be a two-story academic wing. You’ll have a new cafeteria, new media center, of course," said Chesser. "So those are the biggest components of the newness of that campus, but it’s also going to have that neighborhood feel to be consistent with Auburn. The brickwork, it’ll be one of the crown jewels of Auburn City Schools once it’s complete.”
Chesser says by the time this project is done, it’s going to be a completely new school, but it’s going to keep the same name and that’s because this campus holds a special place in Auburn’s history.
“It was the African-American high school in the 50s and 60s when it was Drake High School," said Chesser. "It’s very special to the surrounding community. It still bares the name J.F. Drake. He’s and individual who fought for civil rights in the 60s, so we’re very proud to move forward with his name still on the building.”
This project is expected to completely be done in 25 months in August 2021.
Classes will resume at J.F. Drake this fall.