HSSD breaks ground

Con­struc­tion be­gins at Langston site

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - JAY BELL

The Hot Springs School Dis­trict hosted a cer­e­mony Mon­day af­ter­noon to mark the start of con­struc­tion on the fu­ture site of Langston Aero­space and En­vi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies Mag­net School.

The cer­e­mony was held in the park­ing lot of the school’s cur­rent lo­ca­tion on Ch­est­nut Street where the new build­ing

will be con­structed. The new site is the same lo­ca­tion as the for­mer Langston High School.

Hot Springs Su­per­in­ten­dent Stephanie Ne­hus joined the dis­trict in 2009 when she be­gan as prin­ci­pal of Langston for three years. Ne­hus thanked the com­mu­nity for ap­prov­ing a mill­age in­crease in Septem­ber 2016 to fund the new con­struc­tion.

“Over the next 18 months, we will have the priv­i­lege to watch a brand-new Langston el­e­men­tary build­ing be con­structed,” Ne­hus said. “Our fac­ulty, stu­dents, fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity de­serve the best fa­cil­i­ties we can pro­vide in or­der to ed­u­cate our stu­dents to reach their high­est po­ten­tial.”

Vot­ers ap­proved a mill­age in­crease of 4.4 mills and the ex­ten­sion of 10.8 debt ser­vice mills for 15 additional years by a nar­row mar­gin of 1,087-1,041. The ap­proval came 16 months af­ter a pro­posed 2-mill in­crease was re­jected by a vote of 627-563.

Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe hailed the dis­trict for help­ing his chil­dren find suc­cess. He said the dis­trict’s Ad­vanced Place­ment and International Bac­calau­re­ate pro­grams pre­pared them for the rest of their ed­u­ca­tion.

“This struc­ture we are go­ing to be build­ing, while it is bricks and mor­tar, is go­ing to pro­vide an en­vi­ron­ment that will al­low all of these young kids and those com­ing be­hind them to learn the cut­ting edge of aero­space and en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies,” McCabe said.

“In this, along with the di­rec­tion the su­per­in­ten­dent is tak­ing in other ar­eas, Hot Springs School Dis­trict is alive and well and con­tin­ues to meet the needs of our com­mu­nity. That is so im­por­tant in that there is some­thing for ev­ery­body at the Hot Springs School Dis­trict.”

The first Langston High School was built in 1914 on Sil­ver Street and named in honor of John Mercer Langston, an African-Amer­i­can abo­li­tion­ist, ac­tivist, at­tor­ney, diplo­mat, ed­u­ca­tor and politi­cian elected to the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Vir­ginia dur­ing the Re­con­struc­tion pe­riod af­ter the Civil War. Langston High School was widely re­spected and ac­cred­ited by the North Cen­tral As­so­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Sec­ondary Schools. A mod­ern build­ing was com­pleted in 1964, only four years be­fore the dis­trict in­te­grated Langston stu­dents into Hot Springs High School.

“As we stand here on this his­toric site, for­merly Langston High School, we are re­minded of the im­pact this school has made in the com­mu­nity in the past and how it con­tin­ues to im­pact our com­mu­nity to­day,” said Langston Prin­ci­pal Eileen El­lars said.

“We must never lose sight of the sig­nif­i­cance that Langston has had on the lives of all those who have walked the halls of Langston High School in the past and those who have at­tended, and are still at­tend­ing, Langston mag­net el­e­men­tary. This is a school rich with his­tory and in­cred­i­ble mem­o­ries that we will con­tinue to em­brace in our new build­ing as we move for­ward.”

The mill­age in­crease and ex­ten­sion will gen­er­ate more than $54 mil­lion for new con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing al­most

$32 mil­lion for a new ju­nior high cam­pus next to Hot Springs World Class High School on Emory Street with a 2,200-seat mul­ti­pur­pose arena and a 1,000-seat au­di­to­rium. The ju­nior high and a new $14-mil­lion fa­cil­ity for Langston ac­counted for about

85 per­cent of the dis­trict’s planned projects.

“Langston and this site have such an im­por­tant legacy and his­tory,” said Ann Hill, pres­i­dent of the Hot Springs School Board. “We know the new fa­cil­i­ties are go­ing to do jus­tice to the his­tory of this school.”

The scope of plan­ning de­layed the start of con­struc­tion on the dis­trict’s two largest projects. The dis­trict has yet to break ground on the ju­nior high.

Plans call for the re­lo­ca­tion of Gard­ner STEM Mag­net School and Oak­lawn Vis­ual and Per­form­ing Arts Mag­net School and the dis­so­lu­tion of Hot Springs In­ter­me­di­ate School. All four mag­net el­e­men­tary schools will ex­tend to sixth grade in­stead of fourth grade and grades 7-9 will at­tend the Hot Springs Ju­nior Academy ju­nior high.

The Sen­tinel-Record/Richard Ras­mussen

TROJAN PRIDE: Stu­dents of Langston Aero­space and En­vi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies Mag­net School say the Pledge of Al­le­giance Mon­day dur­ing a ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for the fu­ture site of the school. The new align­ment of the Hot Springs School Dis­trict will ex­tend the el­e­men­tary mag­net schools through sixth grade in­stead of the fourth grade.

The Sen­tinel-Record/Richard Ras­mussen

LOOK­ING FOR­WARD: Hot Springs School Dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Stephanie Ne­hus ad­dressed stu­dents and guests Mon­day at Langston Aero­space and En­vi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies Mag­net School. Ne­hus said the build­ing process should take about 18 months.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.