SHS Breaks Ground on Renovation Project

June 12, 2015
Courtesy Photo  School Administrators, Board Members, and students break ground at Salem High School.

Courtesy Photo School Administrators, Board Members, and students break ground at Salem High School.

by Jay Hobson

School district officials had an official groundbreaking ceremony in the cafeteria of the high school on May 28 for the $75 million renovation project.

Although the ceremony was held inside due to impending inclement weather, shovels were put to earth outside briefly afterward.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Delahanty thanked the residents of Salem for backing the project with their votes in the last election in March.

“So far there has been a new retention pond and the start of an additional parking lot,” Delahanty said.

School Board Chairman Michael Carney also spoke, thanking the community as well as others.

“Some will say that a new building does not make a quality education,” Carney said.  “I agree, but as Dr. Fran Vandiver of the University of Florida said, ‘Buildings do not determine the quality of a student’s education, but if they can make it possible for that education to be responsive to the need for collaboration by teachers and students to utilize technology not as a gadget but as a means to develop 21st century skills, then the building can be a great asset to the learning process.’”

He went on to say that the groundbreaking ceremony celebrates the beginning of a three-year construction project that will culminate with a renovated and reconstructed Salem High School and CTE Center.

“A building that everyone in Salem will be proud of, a building that will have the latest technology, state-of-the-art science laboratories, updated classrooms and improved athletic and performing arts facilities.  In short, a facility that is designed to help provide our students with a 21st century education,” Carney said.

SHS Principal Tracy Collyer said that the project was “historical.”

“Your individual efforts and those of our partners helped us to collectively achieve the simple goal of providing a safe and modern facility which the students of Salem will have the opportunity to excel in academically,” Collyer said.

Collyer said that she asked several students what a renovated SHS would mean to them; she was told that already great programs would be even better.

“All those I spoke with said that they would have a building that they could be proud of and would bring our community closer,” Collyer said.