East Middle School to close after 51 years

Sign of East Middle School
Sign of East Middle School(KKCO / KJCT)
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 5:51 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - East Middle School held a small celebration to wrap up the over 50 years it served students and staff. As the final days of the spring semester are coming to an end, so will the school indefinitely.

East Middle School opened in 1971 and served thousands of students and hundreds of staff members. During the event, the principal held a short speech in front of the 8th-grade doors to briefly talk about how the school served so many people that walked through its doors. As the event wrapped up, a time capsule was lowered into the ground and buried. Students were able to get food and ice cream from the food trucks that were present on the school grounds.

With many past and current students and staff, the school’s closing came with emotions from many. “For many of us, it started to hurt us quite a bit, particularly those that have been here for over 20 years. Those folks are feeling it more,” said Jason Thomas, East Middle School Principal.

Two students also reacted to the school closing and their thoughts on the situation and decision. “I was honestly sad when I first like heard about it, because I know it’s been open for a while my parents went to the school when they were younger,” said Rylee Rink, an 8th-grade student at East Middle School. “it’s very sad that the school is closing and people won’t get see because a lot of the teachers are great in combination with the other teachers. So a lot of people don’t get to see those great combinations between teachers and student anymore at this school,” said Zachary Meyer, an 8th-grade student at East Middle School.

Thomas states that they are still determining how the outcome of the school will turn out but mentions that some rumors say it could be an administration building. Before the closing the decision to close the school came after the district hired a consultant to look at the declining enrollment. The consultant recommended closing two other schools, including Lincoln Orchard Mesa and Orchard Avenue Elementary, but a school board vote kept it open.

With the closing, all future and current students will move to different middle schools within the county. Thomas says most students will attend West and Bookcliffs and Middle Schools. It will take place during the fall semester. Depending on where that student lives within the county will determine which middle school they attend.