District 117 school board members and other officials took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Jacksonville Middle School on Wednesday.
It’s the first major project for the district since 1982, according to Superintendent Steve Ptacek. 88,000 square feet of space will be added to the current Jonathan Turner Junior High building, with a new auditorium, gymnasium and updated science classrooms for sixth, seventh and eighth-graders.
Ptacek asked Mary Fergurson, who chaired the Vision 117 Committee, the group that steered the district towards the renovation project, to offer remarks on the groundbreaking.
“Nearly three years ago, the process that has brought us to this special day began. We all came together to engage the community and guide the process of developing a facilities plan for the 21st century. The Vision 117 team and I are thankful for many things,” Fergurson says.
“The catalyst that set off this wonderful chain reaction- Steve [Ptacek]. It couldn’t have happened without him. The investment in our community engagement process by our school board, thank you for believing in that way. And the experts who provided the framework, performed the studies, and supplied the objective data for our review and consideration. But most especially, we’re grateful for the community participation. Without their commitment and conviction, we could not have been led to this point,” she continues.
You can hear more from Fergurson by accessing the raw audio of yesterday’s event on a media player below.
The $26-million, sales tax-funded project will take two years to complete, but school officials will hold a grand opening for the new gym next fall. Students will use mobile classrooms during construction.