The Jackson County School District is celebrating the long awaited construction of the new East Central Middle School. Planning for the project began back in 2008 and Friday morning the district hosted a ground breaking ceremony.
The $6 million project will give the middle school campus a whole new look.
"We have needed this building for quite some time. And now it will become a reality," said principal, R.L. Watson.
Those who gathered to celebrate the milestone, could see the construction already underway.
"Fourteen classrooms, a new library, a new cafeteria, new guidance offices and new administration offices," said school board member, Karen Tolbert.
School and community leaders began serious planning back in 2008 to upgrade what had become a hodge podge of aging facilities.
"At that time, plumbing was failing under the slabs of some of the existing buildings. Our old gymnasium was outdated and in need of help. The layout of the buildings was a spider web that really didn't make sense," said school board member, Glenn Dickerson.
The new middle school will provide a welcome upgrade and be able to accommodate future expansion by adding classroom wings to the new building.
"We're so excited about this. It's long overdue. And we're finally getting it out of the ground. It's great for our children and for our community. It's going to be wonderful," said Jackson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Barry Amacker.
The middle school principal says some key words will be displayed on the walls near the front entrance of the new school.
"Respect, compassion, integrity, commitment, excellence, honesty, achievement and cooperation. Those are the words we believe in and the strength of our school," said Principal Watson.
The new building should be finished in about 10 months.
"This type of investment is important. As citizens drive by, they will see that we are investing in public education and in our kids," said Karen Tolbert.
Last year, the school district spend nearly a million dollars upgrading the old gymnasium at East Central Middle School.
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