On Monday, an ebullient Britain celebrated the birth of a son – the newest member of its royal family, on Monday evening, Bayfield deployed no less pomp and circumstance marking the groundbreaking of a construction project at the high school that entails building a new performing-arts center, auxiliary gym and baseball field.
A crowd of about sixty – many of the men bedecked in majestic purple and gold, the school colors – gathered on the high school lawn to honor this birthing of sorts, with brief remarks from Bayfield School District Superintendent Troy Zabel and School Board President Barbara Wickman and 18 district personages finally thrusting shovels into ground, which, in some cases, swung wildly like giant croquet mallets.
“Thank you so much for attending on what is a very exciting day for our community,” Zabel said. “A lot of you have been waiting a long time.”
The $9 million construction project is financed with money raised through a mill levy approved in the 2012 election and bonds, said Amy Lyons, the district chief financial officer.
“We have over 400 students at the high school, and probably 1,400 throughout the community, but it’s going to benefit every child in our community, not to mention the greater Bayfield community,” Lyons said.
Unlike Kate Middleton’s pregnancy, democratic process of gestation can take longer than nine months.
Zabel said the project was the culmination of nearly 15 years’ of civic ambition, as original plans for the high school, which was built in 1998, included the performing-arts center, auxiliary gym and baseball field, but their cost proved prohibitive.
In an interview, Zabel said the new facilities, which are slated for completion in September 2014, will avail Bayfield school districts’ burgeoning arts and athletic programs of new opportunities for growth, saying last year, Bayfield’s baseball team, which went to state, played on a field that wasn’t regulation.
He said the high school’s thriving music program particularly needs the new space.
Wickman said the board anticipated the new performing-arts center being used as a community space, as the town lacks a sizeable performance venue. She hoped the center might host amateur dramatic troupes from town or events for Music in the Mountains.
The new performing-arts center is likely to cost $5.8 million.
Wickman thanked Bayfield residents for approving the tax in last year’s election despite the fact that most residents were themselves strapped for cash.
“It’s tremendous,” she said in an interview.
She told the crowd she was, “proud, extremely proud that Bayfield is supporting fine arts, particularly at a time funding for the arts is declining.
Marti Zwisler, Bayfield School District’s owner’s representative in the construction project, said two Durango-based firms will midwife the project: RMBA, a Durango-based firm, is working as architect, and FCI is doing the construction.