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South Boston News
County supervisors Andy Hargrove, Glanzy Spain, Dan Tanner, Claudia Lundy, Glenn Barbour, Sterling Wilkinson, Jim Jennings, David Brankley and Gregg Gordon, County Administrator Wayne Carter, School Superintendent Paul Nichols, and school trustees Brent Richey, Dale Sturdifen, Wanda Bailey, Lindell Palmer, Gavin Honeycutt, Dora Garner, Kenneth Johnson and Glenn Edwards shovel the first scoops of dirt at the construction site in Baskerville of Mecklenburg County’s new consolidated secondary school campus. The ceremonial groundbreaking took place Friday. / December 26, 2019
It was strictly a ceremonial start to construction of Mecklenburg County’s new secondary school complex in Baskerville, but a monumental event nonetheless.

On Friday, county leaders and guests celebrated the groundbreaking for the new Mecklenburg County High School and Middle School with shovels in the ground and cheers in the air. State, county and town elected officials, civic and business leaders, school staff, students with the high school Air Force JROTC program, building contractors and architects and other guests gathered to be part of a milestone moment in county history.

The consolidated grade six-12 school facility is expected to take about two and a half years to build, culminating in a cutting-edge, collaborative, and innovative learning environments for many generations of Mecklenburg County students, according to Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols. The project is set for completion in 2022 — in time for students to move in for the 2022/2023 school year.

Once completed, the new facility will replace four badly outdated schools — Bluestone middle and high school, and Park View middle and high school. The new building will be a state-of-the-art school featuring collaborative and flexible spaces, a 1,200 seat auditorium, extensive athletic facilities, an expanded agriculture program with a barn and two greenhouses, and dedicated classrooms for the school division’s planned six career centers in advanced technology, STEM, environmental science, health and human services, law and leadership, and international business and culture. By learning in this environment, students can build a strong foundation for their choice of jobs within the school division’s designated 16 career clusters.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Nichols explained how the design would benefit current and future students. A guest speaker from Richmond, Megan Healy, chief of workforce development for Virginia, noted how the curriculum at the new facility will help Virginia develop a workforce needed to fill technology, technical and STEM-related careers.

Healy said she envisioned stronger growth for the community and greater opportunities for students who graduate from the new school facility.

The new building and curriculum will elevate educational opportunities available through Mecklenburg County Public Schools, allowing students to get more out of their time in high and middle school and give more to their communities after graduation.

School Board Chair Dale Sturdifen said the new consolidated school facility also will serve as a unifier for the county which will ultimately help Mecklenburg grow and prosper.

Board of Supervisors Chair Glenn Barbour recognized the importance of the new school and the impact it will have on students in the community. At the end of the ceremony, members of the Board of Supervisors, School Board trustees, County Administrator Wayne Carter and Superintendent of Schools Nichols posed in front of newly plowed ground to symbolically turn the first shovels-full of dirt on this community undertaking.

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