• Groundbreaking for the new Marshall Elementary and McLoughlin Middle School
  • Photo: students with shovels break ground
  • Students and staff celebrate the next phase of Ogden Elementary

Between June and September, staff members and students from four schools witnessed the kickoff of construction on the new Ogden Elementary, McLoughlin Middle School, Marshall Elementary and Vancouver iTech Preparatory. Years of planning and community support of a 2017 bond measure have led to this: building new schools and making upgrades at every school in the district. The start of construction has made those plans a tangible reality.

The prevailing mood was one of excitement at the groundbreakings for the four schools. Ogden fourth-grader Jontrey was eager for the new library:

“I’m excited about the library because it’s going to be very big. There’s going to be beanbag chairs. There’s going to be a lot of books to read, and I like reading a lot.”

Staff members like Marshall’s Lori Talley shared that enthusiasm.

“I’m excited to be in a new building. I’m excited to be connected to the middle school and just for the opportunities that our students are going to have in the new space.”

And for students like Fahad, who started at iTech in 2013 as a sixth-grader, the groundbreaking was a special moment a long time coming.

“I think it’s a great day, to be honest. Our school is starting to come true.”

Groundbreakings were far from the only bond-related work that took place over the summer, however. Thirteen playgrounds saw new surfaces to make equipment accessible for all students. Secure entrances, new roofs and asphalt repairs make our schools safer and extend the longevity of our school buildings and campuses. New turf fields at four high schools mean that many student athletes can compete in almost any weather.

Julia, who plays on Columbia River’s soccer team, is grateful.

“I would say thank you. It’s a huge blessing to have the turf. Not a lot of people get this as a high school. I mean, there’s some colleges that don’t get this nice of a turf, so I would say thank you.”

It’s clear to us all that Vancouver voters have made a significant investment in their schools. Isabel, now a sixth-grader at iTech, perhaps said it best:

“I think it says that they care a lot about the students’ learning community and they care a lot about what the school looks like for their students of Vancouver.”

I’m so proud of our community routinely stepping forward and donating time, talent and treasure to their children and their public schools and so very grateful. Because of the Vancouver community, our children and community have a bright and hopeful future.

“Thank you, Vancouver!”

Take care,

Image: Steve signature