Ribbon Cuttings

Community leaders tour new facilities
Posted on 10/19/2016

About 100 supporters were hosted at each new campus during the Middle School and High School ribbon cuttings held last week in cooperation with the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce.

The ceremonies celebrated the substantial completion of the anchor projects of the historic buildings plan made possible by the passage of the 2014 levy measure that resultantly added 200,000 square feet across campus.

The plan promised and delivered on addressing four critical needs, officials noted: to combat overcrowding, meet the growth of the community, modernize antiquated classroom facilities, and improve the safety and security of students.

Superintendent emeritus Chris Hon spoke at the Senior High ceremony Thursday, Oct. 13, stating that he was proud to lead the charge and “give something back” after being afforded the privilege of serving the school district for 16 years, the majority of his tenure in public education.

Dennis Young of Ittner Architects, the professional planner the school board hired over the district-wide project, mentioned that educators often inquire about the construction that has taken place in Poplar Bluff, and he explains how it was a “community-based master plan.” The process began with a Long-Range Planning Committee in 2011, then expanded to include a Citizens’ Advisory Council in 2013 representing a cross-section of patrons.

Building a new high school was not financially feasible it was determined, Young recalled, so the committee members opted to swap the High School and the Middle School campuses, and add grade four to the upper elementary configuration freeing up space at the four lower elementaries. A FEMA grant was secured at the Junior High to jumpstart the expansion project there.

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the Middle School ceremony, new Superintendent Scott Dill commended the community for investing in itself again with expanded school facilities that will impact generations to come. Board President John Scott thanked the many individuals who helped reach the milestone, R-I’s first new levy in over 30 years, including the taxpayers who made the sacrifice for Poplar Bluff’s future.

Following the dedication, a tour of the 40,000-square-foot addition of the Middle School was led by the student Safety Patrol, while the National Honor Society led a tour of the 132,400-square-foot addition of the High School.

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Cutline: With assistance from seventh grader Brileigh Cates, High School Principal Mike Kiehne formally dedicates the Oak Grove Road facility.

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