Education column: Construction projects beginning

“Nothing without joy!” exclaimed Shelly Norris, principal at the Arts Academy at Bella Vista, reiterating the school’s motto during an opening speech at the groundbreaking ceremony held this week.

Construction is about to begin on Bella Vista’s new additions, including the multi-purpose/performing arts center building, a highly anticipated new addition. With all of the arts-infused events and activities that take place in the regular curricular day of the Arts Academy, there is indeed much joy-filled anticipation for this performance center as well as for the additional classrooms that will be built. The performing arts center will also benefit our other schools. As Norris emphasized, it will serve as the “Marshall Auditorium for the elementary schools” when the need arises for student performances to share with parents and the community.

On hand was the entire student population of the Arts Academy, decked out in pink and yellow toy hard hats, a most festive sight to see. The children sang and performed a few selections that included not only their sweet voices, but also “signing” the lyrics, dance moves and props. Also in attendance were many of our other school principals and distinguished visitors from the community and state levels.

In fact, overall, it was an important week in the future of the Clovis Municipal Schools at large. Not only was there the groundbreaking ceremony for the Arts Academy, but also the groundbreaking for the new middle school which will be built on a parcel of land a mile north of Llano Estacado and the same distance west of Prince Street.

Groundbreaking for the new middle school, which will proudly bear the name of W.D. Gattis Middle School (formerly used for the CHS Freshman Academy), took place on a typical cold and windy New Mexico day. The sunshine was clear and bright, and the crowd attending didn’t seem to mind the chilly weather.

Many distinguished guests were present and included: Sen. Clint Harden, Reps. Anna Crook and George Dodge, Mayor Gayla Brumfield, City Manager Joe Thomas, Chamber Executive Director Ernie Kos, and city and county commissioners. Representing Cannon Air Force Base were 27th SOW Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Michael Beach and School Liaison Officer Laura Serrano. Representing the schools were Superintendent Terry Myers, the Clovis Schools Board of Education and many school administrators and other staff members. Representatives from the builders Bradbury Stamm and the architectural firm FBT, were also present and shared large graphic renderings of the new middle school.

Also in attendance was Robert Gorrell, director of Public School Facilities Authority and John King, PSFA’s regional manager, whose tireless efforts have helped make expansion possible.

Novelist and poet Victor Hugo said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at: