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‘A sense of pride for our community and our school’

Athletic complex construction begins at MHS

A well-attended formal groundbreaking was held Friday, July 12, at Middlesex High School to kick off construction of the Syd Thrift Athletic Complex. The construction phase of the $3.5 million project began Monday. Taking part in Friday’s ceremony are, from left, Johnny Fleet, Robert (Bob) Henkel, Carolyn Boxley and Dolly Thrift, all members of Friends of Middlesex High School; school board chair Garland Harrow; school superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor; and county supervisor Jack Miller. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

by Larry Chowning

About 200 people attended a groundbreaking Friday at Middlesex High School to kick off construction of the new Syd Thrift Athletic Complex. Work on the $3.5 million project began Monday.

Middlesex School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor said the project would not have been possible without the support of the Friends of Middlesex High School, a group organized specifically to spearhead building the new facility.

“Oftentimes we hear, ‘Why are we building a sports complex?’ Well, I can tell you right now, there is a direct correlation of student success in the classroom and those students involved in extra-curricular activities,” said Dr. Taylor. “For a variety of reasons, extra-curricular activities give students additional skills that help them be successful in the classroom and successful in life. And as we look forward to this project, we are looking forward to not only the impact it will have on the field but in the classroom as well.”

Jeannie Duke said she is thrilled to be principal of MHS during the time the new sports complex will be built. “Student activities connect students to their school and it often has a very positive impact on their lives,” she said. “I’m so happy we are here to move some ground. It’s going to be an exciting thing to happen and, most importantly, it’s going to provide a sense of pride for our community and our school.”

Carlton Revere, chair of the county board of supervisors, was delayed and missed the opening ceremony.  County administrator Matt Walker delivered an address prepared by Revere.

“This is a moment that is a culmination of a lot of effort, meetings, phone calls, discussion, and blood, sweat and tears,” wrote Revere in his address. “It’s important to recognize the effort and understand that we are not quite done. There is still more sweat equity to put into the project. The efforts that are forthcoming are indicative of what we hope students will experience on these new facilities—the experience that if one works hard and stays focused great things will be achieved.”

Bob Henkel, president of the Friends of Middlesex High School, said, “We’ve been glad to join the school board in making this sports complex a reality. We see it as an important part of the future of our community and the future of our youth.”

Henkel thanked the six sponsors in the community who came forward and secured a $600,000 line of credit to allow the project to begin. “What we will have here is so much beyond what we have had,” he said.

School board chair Garland Harrow thanked everyone who attended the groundbreaking and who has contributed to the cause. “We are so happy to begin work, and we appreciate with deep kindness and a great thank-you for all of you who have participated. This is truly Charger Pride at its best!”

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 07.17.2013

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