Medford opens new middle school, using a decades-old campus

MEDFORD, Ore.– Medford School District’s third middle school is officially open, after renovating a campus that has been part of the district for nearly a century.

The new Oakdale Middle School has plenty of new features and like Hedrick and McLoughlin, it will have sixth graders in attendance for the first time.

Principal Karina Rizo said the Oakdale campus has received a complete facelift since renovations began in 2021.

The building and campus have been part of the school district since it was Medford High School, starting in 1931.

Even though the campus of Oakdale Middle School has been around for over 90 years, almost everything about the building is new this year.

Crews have been renovating the building for two and a half years and classes are officially underway.

Principal Karina Rizo said, “just being a new community, being a new school, being able to create our own story and start from scratch. That’s the most exciting part.”

Medford School District is also including sixth graders in middle school for the first time this year.

Rizo said the transition from elementary to middle school can be difficult, but she’s hopeful the sixth graders can adjust quickly.

“I think our sixth graders are half nervous, half excited to be in middle school,” Rizo said, “I think just like with everything else, you teach them and you practice and you practice and then they figure it out. It will just take them a couple days, but I think they will be just like the 7th and 8th graders, ready to blend in and do a great job.”

The newly renovated school also features a new media center, which will offer students access to books and a variety of online media.

Rizo said it’s one of her favorite features of the new school.

“I think it’s a great place for students to gather and it’s not just about the books, but it’s just about having a sense of belonging for some of them, having a person they can connect to, connecting with what they’re passionate about,” Rizo said.

Rizo said they had to cancel all outdoor activities because of unhealthy air quality.

MSD told us last week they will continue to monitor the smoke to make sure its students are safe.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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