Joyful groundbreaking for new high school/career academy

The sky was blue and faces were sunny at a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Greene County High School and Career Academy Monday.

A group of about 75 enthusiastic community members, school staff and students, elected officials, and professionals involved with the project attended the event.

Addie Deal, class of 2036, and Charlie Deal, class of 2033, attended the groundbreaking with their parents Tracy and Chris Deal.

School superintendent Tim Christensen thanked Chris Deal, Sid Jones, Dan Benitz and Doug McDermott for bringing “a crazy idea” to the board – to pair a new school building with a regional career academy – about 18 months ago.

He thanked the Our Kids, Our Future committee for promoting the bond issue needed for the project. Chaired by Keith Van Beek and Bill and Peg Raney, the committee totaled nearly 90 people with dedication and desire Christensen described as “unbelievable.” He also thanked voters for approving the bond referendum.

Christensen thanked the Greene County board of supervisors for “their vision and their desire to help family, students, and businesses of Greene County” in agreeing to use $5 million in tax increment financing proceeds to pay for construction of the career academy.
He thanked Grow Greene County for providing $4.5 million toward the gymnasium and auditorium for the school, noting, “the vision they had in looking at the best interest of students and families and businesses in the county.”

He commended the board of education for their vision and leadership, and Iowa Central Community College for being partners in the project.

After the first shovels hit the ground, Christensen said, “We’re very excited. The next 15 months are going to be fantastic…. If all goes well, the walls will start to go up in June.”

Turning the first shovels of dirt were (from left) John Muir representing the county board of supervisors, Charlie and Chris Deal, who spearheaded the bond issue effort, Grow Greene County board president Norm Fandel, DrStacy Mentzer of Iowa Central Community College, school board president Mark Peters, Sid Jones, who led the effort with Deal, high school student Trey Hinote, and school superintendent Tim Christensen. | GCNO photo by Chris Henning

Chris Deal, who first proposed the “crazy idea,” told GreeneCountyNewsOnline that there was a lot of frustration after the second bond referendum for a new school failed, but “once the idea got formulated and people started to weigh in and convey their excitement about the career academy and the wholistic perspective, that it wasn’t just about the building, but what we can do for economic development, how we can do something that makes a precedent for education, people got excited about not only ‘let’s do it,’ but ‘let’s do it right’. That set the stage for more to come. That resonated.”

Professionals involved in the project also attended the groundbreaking. Pictured are (from left) Danielle DeBoer, IMEG structural project engineer; Chris Deal; Ken Hagen of OPN Architects; Jason Knipp and Doug Hovick of Henkel Construction; Jim Leiding of Bolton & Menk,; and school superintendent Tim Christensen. | GCNO photo by Chris Henning

~reported by Chris Henning for GreeneCountyNewsOnline

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