Officials break ground on school construction projects

CNJ staff photo: Benna Sayyed School board members and local dignitaries collaborate to break ground for Gattis Middle School which is scheduled to be completed by late summer 2013.

Benna Sayyed

It was a busy day for Clovis Municipal Schools, with groundbreaking ceremonies for its new middle school and a renovation project at another school.

At the Arts Academy at Bella Vista groundbreaking Tuesday morning, school students wore pink and yellow construction-style plastic hats and sang songs.

In the afternoon, city, school and state officials gathered in a barren field just north of town to celebrate the groundbreaking of the $30-million Gattis Middle School that will house about 900 students.

“If you look around Clovis, the schools here are taken care of very well,” said Dennis Towne, executive vice president of Bradbury Stamm Construction, which will build the school. “There are really beautiful buildings that have lasted a long time, and I think that’s what they’re looking for here.”

As part of a middle school restructuring, sixth-graders will be moved from the district’s 12 elementary schools and placed in one of three middle schools, Yucca, Marshall and Gattis. That would free up 40 elementary classrooms across the district.

Gattis is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2013.

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley said the renovation at Bella Vista will include 11 new classrooms and a 5,000-square-foot performing arts center.

It is scheduled to be completed August 2012.

Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Terry Myers said the school is also improving its curriculum which, along with the renovation, will give kids incentive to excel in school.

“The new refreshing facelift that Bella Vista will receive is going to give our kids a little better attitude when they come to school, and they’ll actually perform better,” Myers said.