2009 Clay's Future Has Arrived

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The Clay Local Board of Education, below left, students of Clay Elementary and Middle School, bottom right, and students and teachers of Clay High School, top right, broke ground on new schools Friday.

Frank Lewis, Portsmouth Daily Times

Students from all three schools, school officials and members of the community, took part in the groundbreaking for the new Clay Local schools Friday morning in front of the current Clay High School.

The students applauded as each guest speaker was announced, and the high school band and chorus entertained those in attendance in the school’s gymnasium.

“This is just an exceptional day for our district,” Clay Local Schools Superintendent Tony Mantell said. “We watched school buildings go up all around us in Scioto County, and we have just yearned for this day for many many years, and it has finally come. We are just appreciative to our citizens here in Clay Township, and all of the support of the trustees, and all of the local authorities. Everybody has been behind us 100 percent. It’s just a great day for children. And that’s really the bottom line.”

Mantell said the goal of the Clay Local school board has always been to “do things right for children.”

Mantell was asked about the time frame involved in completing the project, the excavation of which is well under way.

“We are supposed to take the building over in July of 2011. That’s if things go well,” Mantell said. “You never know what you will run into in construction, but no doubt some time during that school year, we will be in the building — hopefully at the beginning.”

Mantell reflected on his career in education and the importance the new school will play in his life.

“I have been in education a long time, about 33 years, and I have never been through a building project,” Mantell said. “I have worked in a lot of great districts and I have learned a lot from a lot of people. But to finally be a part of building a new facility for children is the highlight of my career.”

One of the people Mantell thanked was Rep. Todd Book, D-McDermott (89th District), currently running for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Book talked to the Times about the importance of the new facilities being constructed.

“Education is the key for a lot of things,” Book said. “It gives people opportunities. It helps the community, because people with opportunities are more likely to have better paying jobs, and all kinds of things. And that starts at this level.”

“The fact that we can have a new school building in the community is just a great thing for us,” Book said. “It’s great for the Clay community. They have been waiting for a while. Now they are there, and I’m just glad to be a part of it. And I know that the results will show in the future as these kids work through a great school and go on to great things.”

At the conclusion of the indoor ceremony, the crowd moved outdoors to the actual groundbreaking ceremony. Three groups, including the dignitaries who had been involved in the presentation, elementary and middle school students and teachers, and high school students and teachers, wearing hard hats, took turns digging a shovel full of dirt and tossing it aside.

Clay Local School Board Vice President Bill Warnock said the cost of the project is in excess of $20 million, and was approved by voters in the March 2008 election.

FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101 Ext. 232

Source:  Lewis, Frank.  "Building for the Future."  Portsmouth Daily Times, 19 September 2009, p. 1A+.  

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