Marion Independent Opens Outdoor Activity Complex and Renovates Middle School

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Work begins on two new projects under $31M obligation

Marion Independent School District Superintendent Janelle Brouwer delivers remarks Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Marion High School Athletic Complex. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

Masonry contractor John Blow overlooks the site of the future Marion High School sports complex. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

Gold-painted shovels await a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a new sports complex at Marion High School. (Geoff Stellfox)

The students of Lycée Marion await the start of the first sod of the Lycée Marion sports complex on Tuesday. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

MARION — The Marion Independent School District broke ground on two new projects on Tuesday — an outdoor activity complex at Marion High School and renovations at Francis Marion Middle School.

Last year, voters approved a $31 million bond issue, allowing the district to move forward with a facilities plan that includes building a new elementary school, a auditorium and outdoor activity complex at Marion High and repairs to other buildings.

As part of a $5.7 million project, the outdoor activity complex is being moved from Thomas Park to the high school. The location of the park suffered significant damage during the derecho of August 10, 2020.

Renovations at Francis Marion Middle School, 2301 Third Ave, include an addition and a secure entrance. The aging classrooms will be updated and the oldest wing of the building will be demolished. This $6.6 million project will allow for better circulation and new classrooms.

The measure was adopted on March 2, 2021, with 84.6% of the vote – 1,312 for and 238 against. The measure needed a supermajority of 60% support to pass.

Last year, the district school board unanimously approved a $36 million facility plan. The other about $4 million comes from an existing statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure.

Installation projects will take four to five years.

Marion High students and staff walked out of school on Tuesday morning to line the sidewalk at the front of the school to participate in the groundbreaking.

“I can’t begin to convey to you the significance and brilliance of this moment,” Marion High principal Greg Semler said in an email to staff. a part of ; this parade is the start of tangible action – realizing the hopes and vision of so many by moving our students into an appropriate and consummate environment at the level at which we value our children. “

The grand opening of a new elementary school at Thomas Park Field is expected to take place later this spring. The school will replace Starry Elementary School, 700 S. 15th St., in a $15.3 million project. Starry will be renovated to add high school classes.

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