Members of the Dumas Independent School District (DISD) Board of Trustees, administrators, and others came together on North Maddox Avenue Tuesday afternoon at the site of the soon-to-be-built new Dumas North Elementary School to watch 10 students in hard hats from Green Acres and Hillcrest elementary schools, with help from Green Acres Principal Andrea Cox and Hillcrest Principal Stephanie Schilling, turn dirt to begin the long-awaited construction of the school. The school is the first of the three new schools financed by the 2019 $107 million bond measure to be constructed. The new school will replace the current Green Acres and Hillcrest elementary schools and serve the consolidated student bodies.
Members of the Dumas High School Band provided music for the ceremony.
In his remarks before the groundbreaking, board member Brent Clark thanked the members of the Facility Advisory Committee, the group of local citizens put together in 2018 to survey all DISD facilities and make recommendations on future construction and renovations. Many of the members were present Tuesday.
DISD Superintendent Monty Hysinger said, "It was kind of a long journey to get here … we are very excited about the new school. We feel like the community will be very proud of it for many years to come." He thanked the taxpayers and others, including architect Robert Cameron of BGR Architects, the design firm, and Stan Cotgreave of Page and Associates, the construction manager at risk, who he said had made the new school possible.
Hysinger said in an interview afterwards that "a lot of thought had been put into the instructional settings" of the new, 130,000 square-foot facility. "It is going to be fabulous for learning. … We think we have a great building, a great design, and that people will be very pleased with it." He added that the building should take 22 months to complete, and he expected the facility to be serving students by August 2023.
The next school to be built will be Cactus Elementary School, followed by Dumas South Elementary School, the replacement for Sunset and Morningside. Hysinger said he was still hoping to have all three completed by the original goal of August 2023, but the COVID pandemic has created cost increases and delays that have plagued this project and construction projects across the country. "I've learned with COVID and everything else you have to be very flexible."
DISD Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Brett Beesley said, "I am super excited for the district to finally get this off the ground and show the community that we are working diligently to get this started … and super excited for what this is going to mean for our kids for the next few generations."
DISD Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Kelly Legg said it was surreal and exciting to be at this point after the three-year process from dream to reality. "I can't wait to see everything start going up."