Archive for Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Celebrating a new school

Officials express gratitude for new middle school building

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed, Spanish teacher, cuts a slice from a cake bearing the Basehor-Linwood High School Bulldog mascot during the reception after the new school building’s dedication ceremony Sunday afternoon. Visitors received cake and punch and were given building tours.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed, Spanish teacher, cuts a slice from a cake bearing the Basehor-Linwood High School Bulldog mascot during the reception after the new school building’s dedication ceremony Sunday afternoon. Visitors received cake and punch and were given building tours.

November 24, 2010

BLMS choir sings at building dedication

The Basehor-Linwood Middle School choir, directed by Wendi Bogard, sings "Gloria Canon" just before the ribbon cutting at the new BLMS building's dedication ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 21. Enlarge video

Appropriately enough for the season, Sunday was a day of giving thanks for the Basehor-Linwood School District.

At a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the new Basehor-Linwood Middle School building, district leaders expressed gratitude for the $18 million facility four days before Thanksgiving.

“Each day I feel fortunate to see those students’ faces as they arrive and head to class, motivated by their surroundings to give their best,” said Mike Wiley, BLMS principal, to the crowd in the school’s commons area.

Wiley listed off a litany of features that the new building offers, including science labs that provide for more hands-on experimenting, open spaces where students can collaborate, spacious music rooms and others.

“The possibilities here are endless,” Wiley said.

He thanked past and present school board members and district leaders, the faculty and staff at the middle school and the voters who in 2007 passed a $39.9 million bond issue that paid for the building’s construction, along with the new Basehor Intermediate School building and improvements at other buildings.

State Board of Education member Janet Waugh, who also spoke at the ceremony, said her son used to teach in the Basehor-Linwood district. She said his experience, plus her experience representing the district on the state board, had given her a very positive impression of the district.

“The Basehor-Linwood School District, as I’ve said, has long been a leader in innovation,” Waugh said, pointing also to the district’s Virtual School, which was the first in the state.

Waugh also lauded the voters who passed the bond issue, especially people such as senior citizens who don’t have children in school.

“With the dedication of this building, you help to push open a little wider the doors of opportunity for your children and the children of your friends and neighbors,” she said.

District assistant superintendent Mike Boyd remembered watching children walk off the bus on the first day of school in August for their first look at their new school.

“It was one of those ‘Oh, wow’ moments,” Boyd said.

He also recalled the challenges the district as it worked toward building the new school, including several failed bond issues and a hand recount of the 2007 vote.

“By the way, if you’ve never been to one of those, it’s a true pleasure,” Boyd said of the recount, laughing. The issue ultimately passed by 35 votes.

The building opened at the beginning of the school year, but the district waited for a formal dedication ceremony until a few finishing touches were added, such as the laying of tile along the entryway. District superintendent David Howard said at the October school board meeting that construction crews hoped to be done with all work on the building by December.

In her introduction to the ceremony, school board president Dayna Miller recalled standing in the same area on a cold day about two years before with a hard hat and a shovel for a groundbreaking. She said it was hard to believe how much had changed since then.

“We have room to grow, and that fact becomes more and more important as our community continues to grow,” she said.

After Wiley used an oversized pair of scissors to cut a ribbon held by school board members, Howard closed the ceremony with one last note of thanks.

“In this time of thanksgiving,” Howard said, “I am personally thankful that our current and future children are the ones who will benefit most.”

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