It was an evening of celebration during the dedication and open house for the new El Dorado Middle School Monday evening.
Superintendent Sue Givens opened the dedication by welcoming everyone to the event. She talked about the country during the Great Depression and how the Works Progress Administration, part of the New Deal Act, funded public schools and roads.
"That's how our 1937 middle school, which most in this room attended, was constructed," Givens said.
She said the World War II generation continued to show their commitment to youth and education by building the elementary schools in El Dorado.
"Tonight we dedicate a building that shows the commitment your generation has for your children and grandchildren," Givens continued. "In El Dorado, kids come first."
She thanked those attending for their commitment to children.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, led by EMS Student Council President Channing Kimble, Board of Education Vice President Monty Hughey introduced a number of guests. He began by recognizing the Board of Education members.
"While we made many decisions, we had many former board members who helped with those decisions," he said, recognizing past board members. He also recognized the city, county and state officials who were invited before turning the podium over to EMS Principal Karla King.
"I want to thank the Board of Education and community for seeing a need for a new building," she said.
She said it seemed like yesterday it was just a dream and there was no building on the site.
"Those dreams and thoughts that we shared as faculty and staff have been more than met," King said. "This building has exceeded our expectations. I want to say thank you from the staff and teachers."
She went on to recognize past and current teachers and administrators before introducing David Sundgren, who she described as the "best support" for education.
Sundgren, who served as co-chair of the K.I.D.S. Committee, talked about the process leading up to the new school.
They began with the Elementary Configuration Team, which developed and implemented a plan for Pre-K to fifth grade schools, as well as the Educational Facilities Task Force, which addressed efficiency and community support for replacing the attendance centers.
"Eventually these two groups would merge to develop a long-range facility plan," he explained.
Then after two community surveys indicating a slim chance of success, the board approved moving forward with a bond issue and the K.I.D.S. Committee was formed, led by Sundgren and Dan Ingalls and made up of several different committees.
Sundgren recognized members of all of these groups and sub-committees.
Page 2 of 2 - In November 2010, a bond issue was passed and the board selected PKHLS as the architects, along with the DLR Group and Nabholz Construction.
Next, ceremonial keys were presented to the EMS Student Council by architect David Stewart.
"On behalf of the student body I want to thank the community for the beautiful gift of this schools," Channing said.
Givens closed the ceremony by saying, "1937: 74 years later you are here to dedicate a new middle school."
She said there were some bittersweet moments as they left the old school but it would be fondly remembered.
Following the ceremony, those attending could tour the building and enjoy and chili supper.