Centralia School District broke ground today at the second elementary school it plans to replace.
“Today marks the beginning of a dream so many have made happen,” Superintendent Mark Davalos said to the crowd of students, teachers and community members.
The construction is part of a $74 million bond measure that passed last year and will fund the construction for two new elementary schools in the district. Two kindergarten through sixth grade facilities will replace Jefferson-Lincoln and Fords Prairie elementary schools. Centralia High School will also receive a full remodel as part of the bond funding.
“Our buildings were not adequate for our students,” Davalos continued. “They need better — they deserve better.”
Fords Prairie Principal David Roberts addressed the students as well. He told a story about one of his students who was sad to see the old playground torn down. He told the students,”the community is giving this to you to unlock your love of learning.”
He sang a song with the students that started, “I am smart, very, very, smart...” to help them show their appreciation for the new school.
School Board Vice President Bob Fuller addressed the crowd and said the bond was the, “most important thing that’s happened to Centralia School District” since he has been on the board. “It’s a great day to be a tiny tiger,” Fuller said.
County Commissioner Edna Fund, City Councilor Peter Abbarno and Chief of Police Carl Nielsen also attended the event.
Three different groups of students took turns to shovel the symbolic gravel.
Kindergarten student Lexi Friberg said her favorite part of the day was that she, “got to shovel.” She was only a little bit nervous to stand in front of the crowd, but was glad she went for it.
The district broke ground at Jefferson-Lincoln Elementary May 1. That school will also be rebuilt as a kindergarten through sixth-grade school.
Students will continue to attend classes at Jefferson-Lincoln while the new school is being built next door.The district has also planning to begin construction at Centralia High School. Students will attend classes in portables while that project is underway.