Bryant Schools host official ground-breaking for new high school facility

Lending a shovel on Monday morning were, from left, Jay Pickering, BHS Principal; Randy Rutherford, Superintendent; David Moore, Board Secretary; Joe Wishard, Board Member; Sandra Porter, Board President; Rhonda Sanders, Board Vice President; Scott Hart, Board Member.By Jessica Bolden, Communications Director, Bryant School District

More than 150 state and city officials, community residents, students and staff celebrated the start of construction for the new[more] Bryant High School facility early Monday morning.

As master of ceremonies, Superintendent Randy Rutherford first thanked the Bryant community for providing the millage support that was necessary for the building’s construction.

“To the community, we cannot thank you enough for the opportunity you have provided us to build this facility,” he said. “This is about kids, it truly is and the instructional benefits that will come from the building are outstanding. What you have provided for us to do here is provide what our kids need.”

The facility, designed with staff, student, and community input, will be the third LEED certified “green” building in the Bryant School District. The energy-saving features are expected to save the District thousands in utility costs, while also providing a healthier learning environment for students.

“[LEED Certification] gives us the opportunity to take the money provided from the savings in the buildings and put [the funds] back into instructional necessities for our kids,” explained Rutherford.

Sandra Porter, Bryant Board of Education President, followed Rutherford with a promise to the community: “Everything we do as a Board, we have one goal, and that is what will improve student achievement. As we moved through this process of designing this building, that was our one guiding principal. We wanted to be sure we had a design that would be conducive to learning.”

When completed in 2013, the $28 million, 114,000-square-foot facility will hold 35 new classrooms, a centralized media center, and localized administrative space. The new facility will provide much needed learning space for the 2,500-plus students projected to be enrolled in grades nine through 12 at the building’s opening. Overall, the space will be a great relief for the ever-growing Bryant School District, which has grown over 23 percent since 2003.

In conclusion, State Senator Shane Broadway, who is also a Bryant High School graduate, addressed the community’s growth and the significance of the day.

“A lot of things have changed in our community, and a lot of that has been because of the quality education that’s provided right here at the Bryant School District,” he said. “This is a special day in the history of our community and our school district. Because it’s not every day that you get to be a part of something that will outlive you.”

The building was designed by Jackson Brown King Architects of Little Rock. Cone Construction, Inc., also of Little Rock, is managing the building’s construction.

Also attending were Bryant Mayor Larry Mitchell, State Representatives Ann Clemmer and Dawn Creekmore, Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington, Bryant Mayor-elect Jill Dabbs, members of the Bryant City Council, and the Bryant High School Marching Band, which played the Bryant Alma Mater and the Fight Song as the Board officially broke ground.

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