"We realized the need for patrons of the district to have a new school," said J.D. Roberts, president of the Monett R-1 Board of Education. "With the help of patrons, we passed the $4.5 million bond issue."
Roberts addressed a crowd made up of students taking summer school classes, seated on the hillside where the new classroom building and campus office will be constructed. School board members and district administrators were joined by representatives from R.E. Smith Construction, Sapp Design Associates architects, city leaders and other school staff.
"It's taken several years to get this process underway," Roberts said. "It will take 18 months to complete the building for our students and future generations.
"Without further adieu, let's break some dirt," Roberts concluded.
Board members dug into the dry ground to start the process. Construction crews will dig into the site as soon as the playground equipment on the east slope above the parking lot has been disassembled and placed in storage.
The $7 million project will consolidate buildings on the 1960s campus into a central arrangement with a main entrance, providing better security, more efficient energy use and better movement of students. The central office will be moved from the east side of the campus to the north. A classroom wing will be added on the northeast corner of the campus with a new gym that will meet federal storm shelter requirements.
The project will be completed in phases, including the removal of two buildings on the southeast side of the campus. Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann hopes to have the majority of construction completed for the beginning of the 2011-12 school year.