Groundbreaking marks the start of FISD construction

Sue Fleming, The Freer Press

A formal groundbreaking ceremony took place in front of Freer High School last Monday afternoon to mark the official beginning of construction of the district's $22 million renovations and new facilities project.

Superintendent Edgar Camacho began with the introductions of attending dignitaries, including school board President Edna Cantu, Vice President Chris Lichtenberger, Secretary Mary Lou Garza and Trustees Larry Robertson, Saul Hinojosa and Calvin Evans as well as Mayor Arnoldo Cantu.

Also recognized were Henry Munoz, Randy Hohlaus, Paul Salinas and Dan Congora of Kell Munoz Architects; Joe Fulton, Philip Skrobarczyk, Omar Salinas, Brad Roberts, John Swetlet and Shawn Walker of Fulton Construction.

"In 2003, Freer ISD recognized that the facilities needed attention. The district brought the Texas Association of School Administrators to conduct a facilities audit and the district also brought the Texas Association of School Business Officers," Camacho said, "and they also conducted a maintenance and operations audit."

These audits assisted the district in moving toward asking the community to support the students by improving the facilities. Through a series of planning and information meetings, the district asked the parents, community members and local businesses to pass a $22.985 million bond, Camacho said.

The bond passed almost 2 to 1, he said.

"So students, whenever you see adults out in the community or local business owners, you need to thank them for making this all possible because of their love and support for you," he said.

President Edna Cantu then addressed the students, staff and guests.

"This occasion not only marks the beginning of great things to come to our school, but also reaffirms that the students are the heart of Freer, Texas," she said.

"We, the members of the school board believe that you the students, teachers and staff of the district deserve the best and safest school possible in which to work and be educated. The community of Freer agreed with us by passing this bond," she said. "This community has repeatedly shown its support for our students and the Buckaroo spirit has always been strong and I would personally like to thank the many people that worked hard to make this moment a reality," she said.

"I know you seniors may be thinking that you won't get to attend a new school, but many of you will come back to teach just as many of our teachers have come back, or you will have children who will one day attend," she told them.

"I personally know this to be true. My mother graduated in 1948, I graduated in 1976 and I can't believe my youngest, Jaime, is a member of the class of 2008."

She also added that she looks forward to having her grandchildren continue the tradition as well.

"I am proud this gift will keep on giving beyond this community because one day some of you will serve other communities as doctors, lawyers, coaches, nurses, among other occupations," she said.

"Therefore, I hope you are as excited as I am that this occasion symbolizes great things to come from this district and you should be honored that the Freer community puts their pride in their students and school."

Wearing hard hats and with shovels in hand, the board members, Camacho, Munoz and Fulton together spaded the soil, an official beginning of the much-anticipated school's renovations project.

The ceremony closed with singing of the Alma Mater, which was played by the high school band.

A reception followed in the annex building.