Students at Robinson Elementary School in Beloit got to skip part of their school day Friday morning to help celebrate the start of improvements at the school.
Adorned with plastic yellow construction hats, the students gathered on the side lawn near the playground to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony that will renovate and expand the school.
Robinson Principal Sam Carter began the ceremony around 10 a.m. welcoming all the students and spoke briefly about the construction, which was already under way.
The renovations will make the school less crowded and provide an overall improved look for Robinson Elementary, Carter said.
The theme for the school year is “Building Our Future,” which Carter said is fitting for this year as a number of construction projects get under way at the district’s schools.
School Superintendent Steve McNeal told the crowd their first objective was to hire local contractors to do the construction on all the projects.
“It’s better for the school district and it’s better for Beloit,” he said. “Throughout this school year you will be able to watch it all come together.”
Brad Austin, president of Corporate Contractors Inc. (CCI), thanked the school district, and echoed McNeal’s thoughts about hiring local contractors.
“It’s important to keep these things in Beloit,” he said.
Carter, McNeal and Austin were joined by other members from CCI and the school board as they dug shovels into a pile of dirt just outside the construction site.
The construction is being funded by the $70 million referendum passed by voters in April. The money will fund a total of nine projects, including building a new intermediate school.
In addition to Robinson, renovations also will be done at Converse, Merrill, Hackett, Gaston and Todd elementary schools. Beloit Memorial High School will get a new pool, and the old pool site will be turned into a fitness center.
A groundbreaking ceremony for Converse School will be held on Monday.