CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Millions of dollars will be spent to make some southern Indiana schools safer, and district leaders with Greater Clark Community Schools said construction could start as soon as next month.

A unanimous vote Tuesday by the Greater Clark Community School Board approved a construction bid with Shireman Construction for major renovations of two schools.

The $12 million project affects two middle schools in the district: Charlestown and River Valley.

"Both middle schools have been open-concept middle schools, which means there are minimal doors and walls," said Superintendent Dr. Andrew Melin. "Safety has been a paramount concern."

The renovations will fully enclose classrooms inside both buildings. That forces each school to re-design its HVAC system.

The plan doesn't call for adding on to the building, but it will make room for additional classrooms. Each school's two-story library will be transformed into new classrooms. A new media center will also be built inside current locker areas.

Melin said the current classroom set-up is distracting.

"What our teachers have to look forward to is a more traditional classroom environment where you have walls, doors, far less distractions, and students, hopefully, will be fully engaged," he said.

Demolition at the two schools could start as soon as Christmas break. Students will be shuffled into temporary classrooms inside the building during construction, which is expected to be finished by the end of 2018.

The project is part of the district's larger plan to borrow $22 million for school updates that passed this spring.

River Valley Middle School will receive a total of $9 million for renovations. Charlestown Middle will receive $7 million. Construction is already underway at Northaven Elementary, which will receive $6 million.

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