??By Lisa Schlichtman
With students chanting "dig, dig, dig," Exeter R-VI School District officials broke ground on a new 11,000-square-foot addition to existing school facilities.
The ceremony took place last Wednesday morning in the school's center courtyard with the entire student body and teaching staff in attendance. The grassy courtyard will soon become the site of a new structure that will include a large multi-use cafeteria with a stage, a kitchen and a music room.
The $2.2 million project will be funded through a $1.1 million bond issue passed by voters last April and a $1.1 million lease purchase.
In addition to new construction, the project also includes renovation of approximately 5,500 square feet of existing space into three new classrooms, new offices and a secure main elementary office.
"We'd like to thank the Exeter community for their continued support in making this project a reality," said Tina Nolan, school superintendent.
School board members on hand for the groundbreaking were Melvin Lacey, Bobbi Vanzandt, Natalie Moseley, Sammy Hudson, Doug Weston and Jeston Scott. Also in attendance were architects Brandon Dake and Joshua Harrold and building contractors Curtis Looney and Brett Simmons. Looney is the owner of Springfield Builders Inc. (SBI) and Simmons will serve as project superintendent.
The project will get underway immediately and should be completed by Aug. 15, 2008, in time for the start of the 2008-09 school year.
Nolan is extremely pleased to see the building project get started and continues to praise the community for its continued support.
Back in April, district voters approved the $1.1 million bond issue by a two-to-one margin with 174 votes cast in favor of the measure and 109 votes against it.
According to school officials, the new addition and renovation work will benefit every student in the district. The new multipurpose building can be used for performances and extracurricular activities in addition to serving as the school's central cafeteria.
Once the new addition is completed, the old cafeteria will be remodeled into classrooms and an office area.
Improved school safety is another benefit of the building project, according to Nolan.
"By building within the courtyard, we will be able to connect all buildings together to add safety to the campus," said Nolan.