By JIM MAURER
CAREY — It was a blue and white day for Carey schools on Friday.
The school colors were worn by many in the crowd, and also adorned balloons launched into a blue and white sky as a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Carey’s new school.
It also was a day of community pride.
With construction equipment grading the property as a backdrop, about 100 residents, teachers and staff came out Friday to celebrate the start of construction of Carey’s nearly $30 million pre-kindergarten through senior high school.
The building is expected to be ready for classes by fall 2016.
Various speakers praised the community support for the district’s students. Voters approved a bond issue for construction of the building, which will replace the East North Street school, parts of which date to the 1920s.
Doug Rich, with the Fanning/Howey architectural firm that designed the building, asked audience members involved with the building’s final design to raise their hand, and many in the crowd complied.
He said the building’s design was a community effort with committees, public meetings, teachers, staff and administrators providing input.
The building will be the “location for education to happen,” he said, “but the continued success of education for Carey schools” relies on the community’s continued support.
Superintendent Mike Wank, who previously oversaw construction of a new building as superintendent of Seneca East School District, said Friday was “about the children of the Carey school community.”
“It’s important for the young people here to see how much this community believes in you,” he said. “The faith they have in your talents and abilities. The hope they share for your success in the future, and their love and willingness to sacrifice so that your dreams can become reality.”
School board President Mike Roszman said residents are “witnesses today about the power of possibilities” when the community stands together.
When the building opens in 2016 it will continue “high-quality, well-rounded” education in the district, he said, which will be “provided in state-of-the-art facilities, supported by the latest in technology, learning materials and other resources that will help our staff better prepare young people to meet the demands of an ever-changing global workforce.”
Ron Dunn, executive director of the Carey Area Chamber of Commerce, said the new school will provide technology and space for teachers to conduct activities which the current school “cannot support.” He said area business personnel he has talked with hope the new school will bring businesses and people to the village.
In May 2013, voters approved a 6.5-mill bond issue. The tax will provide about $10.9 million, the district’s share of the $30 million project. The state will pay the remainder.
Six mills will be collected over 37 years for construction costs, and the half-mill will be collected for 23 years for a maintenance fund, a state requirement.
The 131,000-square-foot building is being constructed on about 40 acres of district-owned land off South Vance Street. The building will feature a pair of two-story wings: one for junior high and high school students, the other for pre-kindergarten through second grade, and third through sixth grade.
The school will have an auditeria with a performance stage, seating for 650 and a cafeteria. There will be two gymnasiums, with the main gymnasium seating about 1,200. There will be a vocational agriculture area, a library/media center, art and music rooms.
The building will face South Vance Street and is adjacent to Memorial Park, location of the district’s football stadium and baseball field.
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