New Cedar North Elementary breaks ground one week early

Turning the soil at the Cedar North Elementary groundbreaking, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – Cedar North Elementary students, teachers, city leaders and contractors braved a chill wind Wednesday to break ground for construction of a new school.

READ MORE HERE: Plans for new school building move full STEAM ahead

“Do you all realize that about a year-and-a-half down the road, where you’re standing right now will be our new school,” Iron County School District Superintendent Shannon Dulaney asked the hundreds of fresh-faced children before her who were dressed in their best for the special occasion.

Cedar City Councilman invites a student to help turn the sand, Cedar North Elementary, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Cedar City Councilman invites a student to help turn the sand, Cedar North Elementary, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

There was a lot of community history that took place in the old building, Dulaney said, adding that Iron County School District Business Administrator Kent Peterson was actually a student in the first kindergarten class to ever attend Cedar North Elementary School.

District math specialist and Cedar City Councilman Fred Rowley said he taught at Cedar North Elementary for three years. The new building will not only catapult the new programing at the school into the future, it will also help solve a lot of problems that come along with a structure that was built in the early 1950s.

Issues that ranged from compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to proper heating and cooling were a constant problem when he was there, Rowley said. The new structure will relieve all of those concerns.

“Also, city-wise, the district wanted to keep a presence downtown in the city to keep life flowing here,” he said.

The groundbreaking for the new building was about a week ahead of schedule, said Hunter Shaheen, Iron County School District Building consultant.

Shovels lined in a row waiting to be turned, Cedar North Elementary, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Shovels lined in a row waiting to be turned, Cedar North Elementary, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

“Come next week, none of this will be here,” he said, pointing to the grassy field to the south of the current building.

The new building will be a beacon to other elementary schools across the state, said Ray Whittier, Cedar North Elementary principal

“We’re excited to look forward now to a new era at North Elementary,” Whittier said. “We’ve got some really cool things that we’re working on with lots and lots of people to make the very best education possible for our kids.”

Before the first group of people stepped up to the golden shovels topped with hardhats that lined the sand where the grass met the pavement, the third grade class entertained the audience with a song, “Leader in Me.”

The crowd gathers at Cedar North Elementary for the groudbreaking of the new school building, Cedar North Elementary, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
The crowd gathers at Cedar North Elementary for the groundbreaking of the new school building, Cedar North Elementary, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

One by one, school district, city officials and development team members took their place in front of a shovel, donned hard hats and ceremoniously flipped the ground beneath them. Kids from the Student Leadership Team followed suit, leading the way for each teacher to turn the sand as well.

As the crowd broke and students and teachers prepared for buses to arrive, there was an excitement in the air that could be seen in the smiles on countless faces in the crowd. So much so, that despite the harsh winds many lingered for a while mixing, mingling and talking about the months ahead.

“Like many of the speakers said today,” Dulaney said, pointing into the crowd of children rushing toward the buses. “It’s all for them, that’s why we do what we do, it’s for the kids.”

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Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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