A groundbreaking was held on Thursday, January 23rd at the site of the new Brownfield High School building. A great crowd of community members attended and applauded the turn of the first shovels of dirt. BISD Superintendent Chris Smith told the crowd, “This is not my building. This is not the School Board’s building. This is your building. It will belong to the entire community. This is a great day in Brownfield for the school district and for the community.” Board President Geoff Cooper echoed Smith’s comments, adding, “We are so proud to be able to be a part of this and we thank the community for supporting the district.” With that, gold shovels went into the ground as the crowd cheered.
It was a festive atmosphere that was a long time coming. The current BHS building was completed in 1971. When the new building is completed, grades 9-12 will attend classes there, with the Middle School (6-8) students then moving into the current High School building. The current BMS building was completed in 1950. Obviously, in 70 years of use, the building has a number of issues that pose problems for the district, including electrical wiring and plumbing. With the increasing use of computers and electronics in today’s classrooms, the current wiring is carrying quite a load.
The $40 million bond package was passed in May and includes the new BHS building, as well as the cost of demolition of BMS, with the exclusion of the gyms and the auditorium wing. These will be refurbished as a part of the package. Also included were improvements to other facilities within the district. The district was fortunate to pass the bond when it did, as legislative changes since the passage of the bond have made things from a financial aspect much more difficult.
Parkhill, Smith and Cooper were hired as architects for the project. One of the architects involved is Jeremy Cheatham, who is a BHS grad. Cheatham stated, “I’m loving this. It feels really good to be able to come back here and be a part of this project.” Doing the actual construction of the building will be Sandia Construction, Inc. Representatives from PS&C and Sandia also participated in the groundbreaking.
Also taking part in the ceremony were City Manager Jeff Davis and County Judge Butch Wagner. Both the city and the county are involved in the construction process in helping with the widening of streets and the materials involved in that. BIDCorp Executive Director Brian Brisendine also participated in the ceremony as BIDCorp has been heavily involved in the plans for the building. When the building is completed, there are plans for the possibility of the vocational wing being used for evening classes for adult education and job training.
At the recent BISD Board meeting, representatives from Sandia told the board that the first thing citizens would see would be lots of dirt being hauled in and then the digging out of the area where the gymnasium will be located. The new BHS building will be located directly across Cub Drive from the current BHS building, to the east. Expect to start seeing much heavy equipment and workers in the area in the coming days.