By Julia Jones, Correspondent
Lakewood Elementary held a groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 8 to begin the process of building a gymnasium and two music classrooms. These additions are possible through a $149.7 million bond program that was approved for Belton ISD by voters in May 2017.
Although the school was originally constructed in 1986, Superintendent Susan Kincannon said that the gym and music rooms will be finishing touches for Lakewood.
“After 31 years, I think this school will finally be complete,” Kincannon said.
Music and gym classes have been held in portable buildings for many years because of the school’s growth. Randy Pittenger, president of the Board of Trustees, said that the groundbreaking is worth celebrating because of the benefit the buildings will have for the school.
“We’re so excited to provide these facilities for our students and for our community,” Pittenger said. “This is important for the continuing quality of education for our students.”
At the ceremony, Kincannon, Pittenger and Lakewood Elementary Principal Judy Schiller spoke about the project. Schiller said that she gives tours to families from all over the country and she is always excited to tell them about the new gym and classrooms.
“One of the things that has been such a joy since the May bond election is to be able to share with them that we will be getting a new gym and students will no longer have to go outside to go to P.E. and music,” Schiller said. “One of the comments they make is, ‘Wow, you must have an amazing community that provides such great support,’ and we do.”
After a performance by the honor choir, student volunteers involved in the Student 2 Student group broke ground on the area facing West Adams Avenue. Kincannon said that they chose to build the gym facing the road so that the school’s name would be more visible.
“It’s giving us the opportunity to provide a better street presence for Lakewood Elementary, so as you drive by you can see the school,” she said. “This allowed us to give a better street front.”
Along with giving the students somewhere to go for P.E. and music class, the new buildings will provide a place for students to walk to the bus more safely, according to Kincannon.
The new gym and music rooms will be built by Mazanec Construction, and Schiller said that the project will be complete in the next school year. There are currently 676 students enrolled at Lakewood, and Pittenger said that it’s kids just like the ones at the ceremony that inspired the community to approve the bond project.
“When we have a need and we present the need, our community responds,” Pittenger said. “We’re very thankful to live in a community that believes in public education and recognizes that these are our schools. They’re awesome kids, and that’s why we do this.”