Hundreds of people turned out on a beautiful spring day for groundbreaking ceremonies at the site of Rockwood's new Eureka Elementary School.
Purple and gold flags blew in the wind at the site of the groundbreaking, near Rockwood Arbor Drive and Lakepath Way. A large American flag provided by the Eureka Fire Department surveyed the scene from the north end of the property, which is immediately east of Six Flags.
The entire student body at the current Eureka Elementary participated. Rockwood School Board members were in attendance. Student Ruby Copeland led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. The school's special chorus sang the national anthem. Nineteen small shovels, custom-decorated by students in 19 classrooms, broke the soil.
Eureka Elementary Principal Lynn White said, "It's a great day in the Rockwood School District! For 65 years, we have been known as the small school with the big heart. As we build the new school, we will take this spirit and camaraderie with us."
Student Henry Coppin said, "We're doing the first digging at the new school site! My favorite thing is going to be the new gym."
Student Camilla Butler said, "I'm really excited because our new school is going to be really big."
Third-grade student Brooke Bader will be in the first fifth-grade class in the new school.
Bader said, "We actually get to be the first graduates of the new school!"
The two-story, more than 108,000 square-foot building is designed to accommodate about 600 students. It will be the first new school in the district since Fairway Elementary in 2004.
Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost said, "Eureka Elementary is a great school community. It takes a great team to build a great school, and I'm proud of all the hard work of those who have been a part of this project. Thank you, Rockwood voters, for making this possible!"
District crews will repurpose the current Eureka Elementary to an Early Childhood Center. The new Eureka Elementary is scheduled to be ready for the 2019-20 school year.