by: SUSAN MATHENY - Construction, community and school district representatives toss dirt at the Aug. 22, groundbreaking for Madras High School's performing arts/sports center.Some 20 people, including architects, contractors, board members, community members, students and administrators tossed shovels full of dirt at the Madras High School football field Aug. 22, to break ground for the new Performing Arts Center and Athletic Facility.

“What took us so long? It’s been 15 months,” Superintendent Rick Molitor said of the time that has passed since the district passed a $26.7 million bond levy to build the arts/athletic center.

“This is one of the most major projects, and the first performing arts center in the entire Jefferson County,” Molitor noted.

509-J Director of Operations Darryl Smith spoke, telling the crowd, “We will spend over $13 million where you’re standing.” He then recognized community advisory committee members, the building design team, and those in charge of constructing it, including the Wenaha Group, which is managing the project, BBT Architects, and Skanska Construction.

School Board Chairman Lyle Rehwinkel thanked the community for supporting the district and passing the bond levy.

“We do things right, and we do them when they need to be done,” he said of the community, adding, “Thanks to the community and everybody behind what we’re doing here.”

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