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The LOSD held a ceremony to officially commence construction on the new Lakeridge Middle School

PMG PHOTO: CLAIRE HOLLEY - Staff from the City of Lake Oswego, the Lake Oswego School District, Lakeridge Middle School and more participated in the groundbreaking ceremony.The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Lakeridge Middle School was held Thursday, April 11. District officials, community leaders, students and other community members gathered at the site to celebrate the start of construction of the school, which is scheduled to be completed summer 2020.

"We are here to celebrate the next generation of middle schoolers on this site," said Superintendent Michael Musick.

The school on the site was once called Waluga Junior High; it was renamed to Lakeridge Junior High School in 2012. The school district plans to call the new structure Lakeridge Middle School. Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Schiele said at a recent school board meeting that both Lakeridge and Lake Oswego Junior High schools have been acting as middle schools for a long

time, and the change is long overdue.

"The schools are middle schools — they are middle school philosophies. They don't act as junior highs," she said.

The change is expected to be approved by the school board at their next meeting April 22.

Design and construction of the new Lakeridge Middle School is being funded by the $187 million school bond passed by voters in May 2017. The estimated cost of the school is $68.2 million.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Musick acknowledged the many people who have contributed to the long process of passing the school bond and developing plans for the new school.

"I'm grateful to work with such an impassioned group of people," he said. "For nearly five years we've been on a journey of discovery."

Nearly every person who played a key role in the journey was at the ceremony, including current and former members of the Lake Oswego School Board.

Former school board member Sarah Howell was the chair of the school board in the spring of 2017, and helped usher in the bond.

"I felt a sense of urgency to do something about our school facilities. We gathered data, and used that to inform the community discussion," Howell said. "This facility will make us all proud and serve students for generations to come. I really appreciate being included in the celebration today."PMG PHOTO: CLAIRE HOLLEY - Left to right: Lakeridge Middle School principal Kurt Schultz, LOSD Superintendent Michael Musick, and City Councilor John Wendland (formerly a member of the school board) at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Current board chair Bob Barman also spoke at the ceremony. "There are so many creative ideas sprinkled throughout the new building," he said. "It's hard to fully express the difference this school is going to make in Lake Oswego, in Oregon, and in the entire United States. It makes all of the sacrifices we are making so worthwhile."

Students and teachers have made sacrifices as the site was prepared for construction, including holding classes in portable structures outside the school.

"You don't know what it's like to be a principal during a time of construction," said principal Kurt Schultz. He was sure, however, that the new school will be worth it.

"This land has a long history, and we hope it will have a strong future. We imagine a future of learning here, of students that will later lead us into the 22nd century," he said. "Thank you all for your support in this exciting endeavor."

Construction of the new middle school will be completed in the late summer of 2020, and the school will be open in September 2020, in time for students to begin the fall term in the new building.

For more information on the new Lakeridge Middle School, visit www.losdschools.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=5228/.

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