Beatrice Public Schools breaks ground on new school

BPS students, staff and board members gathered to break ground on the town's newest elementary and preschool
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 8:43 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It was all smiles as staff, students and board members broke ground on the newest elementary and preschool building in Beatrice.

“It’s a great day to be an Orangemen here,” Eric Trusty, Beatrice School Board President said. “This is a tremendous event for the community, for the school district, for Beatrice as a whole. To see this project finally come to fruition and have this groundbreaking ceremony. We’re all excited.”

The Friday ceremony marked the beginning of the construction phase for the $43 million project.

This moment has been a long time in the making. It’s been a top priority for the school board since 2015: a state of the art building to replace the three aging elementary schools and one preschool spread across town.

“The buildings that our preschool and elementary students are currently in were 1950 model buildings,” Beatrice Superintendent Jason Alexander said. “Excellently built buildings, but also buildings that over the course of time have shown their wear.”

Almost everyone supported the vision, but the financing was a different story.

“A couple bond issues were put forth to the community,” Trusty said. “Neither one of those passed. But even with that, the board has really kept their focus on--and with the strategic plan--improving our facilities.”

So the school board got creative. Instead of raising taxes, they joined a partnership with Educational Service Unit 5 to secure a $35 million loan. BPS, grants, and COVID-19 relief dollars will help pay the rest.

Trusty said the new, consolidated school will allow for more teacher collaboration and make mornings easier for parents with children in different schools

Alexander said he’s confident it will prove itself early on, providing better education to Beatrice’s youngest.

“We need a building where we can serve our students who have special needs adequately and effectively,” Alexander said. “And finally, a building that’s just more efficient than what our older buildings are.”

Construction is expected to finish in August 2024, just in time to welcome a new class of students.