The new 25,000 square foot building replaces a facility that was built in 1935.

COMMERCE — They’re counting down the days until they can start moving into the Commerce Middle School building.

“We are going to do a punch list later this week, so we can start moving some furniture and things like that in there,” superintendent Jim Haynes said Monday morning.

The first day of school at Commerce is Aug. 17.

The new 25,000 square foot building replaces a facility that was built in 1935.

Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was a student in the old building when it was the high school.

Voters approved a $8.45 million bond issue in April 2016, to fund the construction projects. The bonds are expected to be paid off in approximately 10 years.

“You go in one Sunday, and there’s no paint and the next Sunday, it's painted, the flooring is down, and they are hanging tile,” Commerce Middle School principal Jack Kelley said. “It really is an exciting time around here. It will be a great addition for our community and our kids.”

The $4.29 million project will have an art room, science lab, media center, offices and a gymnasium.

“We put a doorway between the gymnasium and the rest of the building so we can close it off,” Haynes said.

Crossland Construction of Columbus, Kansas, is the contractor on the project.

There also will be restrooms and four small locker rooms in the gym.

Haynes said there also is a connection corridor between the saferoom and cafeteria, which was part of the old building.

“Hopefully we will be able to start moving in right at the end of July or the first of August,” he said. “It’s going to be nice. The kids really needed it. That’s what we’re all about.”

Running simultaneously are projects to add saferooms at the high school and Alexander Elementary.

The elementary school saferoom will have room for four classrooms while two classrooms will be added with the completion of the high school saferoom.

Kelley said plans are being finalized on an open house and dedication of the new middle school.