By Katie Dahlstrom Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — Clinton school district leaders broke ground on the $21 million middle school site Tuesday, celebrating the project that will unite all middle school students in one building.
“I’m excited for the children and the impact this will have on their lives,” Superintendent Deb Olson said to a crowd that gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony on the site near the intersection of 13th Avenue North and 16th Street Northwest.
The new building will be paid for using the one cent sales tax and open to all sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students by the fall of 2014.
The new school will have classrooms that facilitate inquiry-based learning and foster education technology and replace Washington Middle School, which was built in 1935, and Lyons Middle School, built in 1971.
“I feel blessed everyday to live and work in a community that truly puts the needs of our children first. So I want to thank all of our community as we begin this construction journey,” Olson said.
Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Nathan Sondgeroth presented Olson with a progress award for the district during the ceremony.
“The Clinton School District has been wonderful for my family and for families for generations to come,” Sondgeroth said.
School Board President Gregg Obren spoke about the vision of the facilities task force in the 1980’, which is when he said the idea for a unified middle school was first floated. He also noted the continued work of the subsequent task force and district leaders to bring the vision to fruition. The ceremony on Tuesday represented years of work and commitment to a new school, he said.
“Things are really progressing here. This is another example of how important a school is to a community and how important all of us are in development of that school,” Obren said.
“We’re not done yet. We’re going to keep going as we go further on,” he added.
Lyons Middle School Principal Dan Boyd, who will become the principal of the new middle school, spoke about the concerted effort to blend the two middle school campuses.
“The future is promising to students, parents and staff who will benefit from the new middle school,” Boyd said.
He said combining the two middle schools has been a goal of the middle school leadership team for many years. For more than a decade, Lyons and Washington middle schools have been sharing programs.
For the past three years the leadership team has been working on a plan that will unify the students, parents, staff and the community once the middle school is complete.
“We are ready to go with this project and ready to say ‘go Kings and Queens of the Clinton Middle School,’” Boyd said.