Pride on parade at dedication ceremony
Though one protester drove by slowly and yelled "...several million dollars" from his car, the mood in the crowd seemed to say, "Yes, and it was worth every penny."
The bond issue for a doubling of the high school, a new intermediate campus, an expansion at the junior high and improvements at the elementary totaled $28.8 million. But these first new school facilities in over a quarter century have lifted spirits in Rockdale.
"I just want to thank everyone involved with these new schools and tell you all that we are loving it!" intermediate campus principal Pam Kaufmann told the crowd.
Pond thanked Bay Architects, Southwest Milam Water Supply Corp., Collier Construction and others for helping with the project, which capped his 20-year tenure as RISD head. He also thanked his successor, Dr. Howell Wright, for taking charge after Pond's retirement last year.
School board president James Birkhead thanked everyone reaching back to the citizens committees that first discussed the need for new facilities.
"We decided that the facilities were so important we called a $28.8 million bond issue on May 12, 2007," Birkhead said. "Now, a little over two years later, we are enjoying this new facility today."
Birkhead said he remembered driving with then Supt. Pond and, while turning north onto Childress Drive, wondering what the new school entrance would look like.
Citizens committee heads Jack Chelf and Ward Roddam also spoke, remembering how some prioritized a new elementary campus, while others wanted high school improvements.
Roddam said maintenance of the older buildings would have become a huge issue.
"Until I took a tour with (maintenance director) Gerry Mitchan, I had no clue of the issues we had deep down," Roddam said of the buildings. "But we are proud of these new facilities and proud of the quality image it gives to visitors."
Chad Jones, two-year principal at RHS, said he feels like someone who walks in late to Thanksgiving dinner, carries out the food, then gets the credit.
Jones and Kaufmann also cut the ribbons for the new high school and intermediate campus. And both praised the new facilities, claiming that even discipline problems have dropped as students take pride in their new facilities.