Construction officially starts on new Tonganoxie middle school
Tonganoxie High School senior Zach Pistora never will sit in a classroom at Tonganoxie's future middle school.
But the THS student body president is thrilled he was able to help with the early stages of the project.
Pistora, and nine others, donned construction hard hats and turned over shovels of dirt at last Wednesday's ground-breaking ceremony for the new middle school.
The middle school for fifth grade through eighth grade is part of a $25.3 million project approved by voters last November. The work also will convert the existing elementary school into a kindergarten through fourth-grade facility. And the existing junior high and high schools will be converted into a four-year high school campus.
From the bond issue's conception, Pistora supported the project.
Prior to the bond election, Pistora and his friends put up signs and handed out pamphlets, reminding school district residents to vote.
"We also went to the city council meetings and participated in helping raise awareness in our school by making T-shirts that said, 'Vote for USD 464,'" Pistora said.
At the ground-breaking ceremony, Tonganoxie school Superintendent Richard Erickson described the long-awaited event as "exciting."
"It's a wonderful conclusion and really we're still in the process because we're going to be very busy in the next couple of years," Erickson said. "It's certainly a very important step in the whole process to see the ground-breaking and things starting to happen."
Also participating in least Wednesday's ceremony was seventh-grader Madison Hunter, who read a poem she had written.
Like Hunter, Pistora would be too old to attend the middle school once it opens, mostly likely in 2007.
But Pistora said he believed the new middle school would help the school district accommodate the increasing enrollment in years to come, and he said he's glad he has been able to be a part of it.
"It was a moment in time where you're breaking the ground at what's going to be an outstanding feature to come and I can just say I was part of that," Pistora said. "It was pretty awesome."