It was a great day for those in the McDuffie County Board of Education and school system. The Ground Breaking Ceremony for the new junior high school on White Oak Road was held Tuesday afternoon.
"What a marvelous opportunity it is for me to stand before you today for a project of this magnitude," said Jerry Randolph, the chairman of the Board of Education. "This project has been on the drawing board since before 2000. ... Indeed, this is the largest building project ever undertaken by our school system."
Local dignitaries including Thomson Mayor Bob Knox and County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton joined members, members-elect and past board members, administrators and staff, and architects to celebrate the occasion.
The new school building will house 8th and 9th grades, with four wings around an octagon-shaped center, having the capacity for 850 pupils. The project is being funded by Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax IV, which was approved by voters in September. Construction is expected to take 540 days to complete.
Norris Elementary Principal Steve Rhodes has been appointed principal of the new school.
"Today we start to bear the fruit of the vision and planning of the current and past McDuffie County Boards of Education, and Retired Superintendent Ed Grisham," Superintendent Mark Petersen said in his speech. "Today, we are breaking ground and starting to fulfill that vision."
Dr. Petersen said he thanks the citizens of McDuffie County for the confidence in the BOE by approving ESPLOST IV, Mayor Knox, Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley, and Chairman Newton for their support and collaboration, the school system faculty and staff for providing quality education and Architect Greg Smith and Buckley and Associates for their attention to detail.