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509-J breaks ground on $5.8 million project

Madras High School will be expanded as the Buff Annex is converted to an elementary school

by: Photo By Susan Matheny - From left, board chair Bob Ringering, Jeff Sanders, Jim Manion, Steve Earnest (partially obscured) and student board member Nathan St. John break ground last Friday in front of Madras High School.

General Editor
   April 9, 2003 — Ground was broken on a $15.8 million expansion and remodeling project April 4, which will enlarge Madras High School and change Buff Annex back into an elementary school.
   Before 509-J board members dug into the ground with golden shovels to kick-off the construction, Board Chair Bob Ringering spoke, recalling how "Forty years ago ground was broken here, making a better education for students of Madras High School." Ringering, it turned out, was a student of the newly built MHS when it was just two years old.
   Now the process had come full circle. He was a product of MHS and was initiating another construction project to bring improvements and advantages he had benefited from to another generation of students.
   New this time, was the participation of a student, Nathan St. John, in the ceremonies, since a student representative position was recently added to the 509-J Board.
   On the drizzly Friday, the JROTC Color Guard presented the flag and MHS Choir sang The Star Spangled Banner and students crowded around to watch the shovels bite into the hard ground.
   Heavy equipment will begin working this week on construction which will include the addition of 15 new science and other classrooms, expanded vocational and athletic areas, the building of a student commons and larger school office, and expanded kitchen facilities.
   At the Buff Annex, currently being used by the high school, six additional classrooms will be built, a library constructed, kitchen facilities restored, playground equipment installed, gym expanded, and bathrooms remodeled for younger students. The work will allow the school to once again be used for an elementary school.
   The renovations were designed by Dull Olson Weekes Architects of Portland and construction is being done by Kirby Nagelhout Construction of Bend. The work will continue through next year, with a ribbon cutting for the completed work tentatively slated for Oct. 30, 2004.