BOTKINS — Approximately 500 people turned out to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new elementary and high school scheduled to be built in Botkins.
“Whether you are a taxpayer, voter, or volunteer, you have helped make our future brighter,” Botkins Local Schools Superintendent Connie Schneider said.
Schneider thanked school board members and the volunteer Steering Committee that worked on educating the public and making tough decisions along the way.
“Decisions were made that were not always popular,” Schneider said, “but they were fiscally responsible.
Schneider read from several student essays on what they thought the school would bring to the community and specifically mentioned Courtney Kohler’s essay to sum up the impact of the new building.
“It means hope,” Schneider said, reading from the essay.
Board President Jack Koenig thanked everyone for their dedication to the children of the community.
“We are not just constructing a building,” Koenig said. “We are building a community. Neighborhood schools are considered the center of their communities. The board offers a sincere thanks to the foresight and vision in the community. They dared to dream.”
The new building will be situated on 19 acres and will be approximately 107,000-square-foot.
Student capacity will be 645 and the gymnasium will have a capacity of 657 people. Secure entrances with security cameras will be built into the building with other modern safety features.
The facility will provide flexible program space. Large windows allowing natural lighting will supplement energy-efficient lighting.
Participating in shoveling dirt during the ceremony included several active residents, members of the school board, faculty, and administration, one student chosen from each grade, and members of the levy committee.
Amy Lloyd, a representative of the Ohio Schools Facility Commission, said it was a great opportunity for the village.
“When completed, it will serve the community for years to come,” Lloyd said. “A great team has been organized to construct this facility. This building will be a part of a proud legacy.”
All students in the school district were given buckets and shovels, and many children shoveled dirt into the buckets to take home a piece of history.