It has been a long road, but on December 20 the School Board and the Board of Supervisors came together to sign construction contracts and break ground on the new Mecklenburg County Middle/High School facility. The ceremony kicked off with a welcome message from School Superintendent Paul Nichols followed by a prayer from Board of Supervisors Member Reverend Andy Hargrove. Mr. Nichols then took a moment to welcome the State Secretary of Workforce Development, Dr. Megan Healy, Virginia State Delegate, Thomas Wright, County Administrator, Mr. Wayne Carter, the town Mayors and other town officials, and representatives from business and industry who have been in partnership throughout the process.
Dr. Megan Healy spoke about the exciting new opportunities that will be provided to students of the new middle and high school and offered a congratulations to the county representatives on getting to this point. “I’m really excited about this opportunity and this day and I can’t wait to watch the schools get built and also even more excited about the curriculum and the opportunities that you’re going to give students in Mecklenburg not just for their workforce pathways but also for economic development.”
Delegate Thomas Wright was the next person to address the crowd also congratulating the School Board and Board of Supervisors on their work. He was followed by Board of Supervisors Chairman, Glenn Barbour, who reminisced on the time that he went to tour the current middle and high schools and realized that the school had not changed much since his time there. “We are nearing what has been a long journey. We’re nearing the end and there’s been a lot of pitfalls, we’ve stumbled a few times, a few heartaches along the way but we persevered and so here we are.” Later in his speech he pointed out that,“at no time do I recall the Board of Supervisors indicating that they wished to scale this project back in any way. It was 100 percent support for the project as is existed because we all want to be proud of this new school facility that we are getting ready to build.” Barbour finished by thanking everyone who was part of the process and reminding everyone that this school will bring the county together and that the new facility will be “our” school. School Board Chairman, Dale Sturdifen, was the last to address the audience. “We can only do things as a team. It is a team effort, that being the School Board, Board of Supervisors, and the community members. We think often times how long has this taken? So when the question of how long [comes up the answer is] not long. This school will out live all of us. We’re building this school for kids who haven’t been born yet.” he continued, “Mecklenburg County is a powerful county. We’ll be even more powerful when we come together as one.” He too thanked everyone for their efforts and congratulated them on the accomplishment.
Mr. Nichols then shared a twelve minute virtual tour video with those in attendance, giving everyone a chance to see the inside of the new facilities. Next came the signing of the contracts by Mr. Nichols, School Board Chairman, Dale Sturdifen, and Cleveland Construction Vice President, Mr. Keith Ziegler. Afterwards, guests were given the option to jump on the activity buses and ride to the building sight where they could witness the Board of Supervisors and the School Board Members break ground on the future Mecklenburg County Middle/High School complex.