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Shovels turned on $6.6 million Banks School

Ground was ceremoniously broken on the new Banks School on Monday afternoon.

Pike County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Bazzell, board members, school officials and students used gold shovels to “break ground” on the $6.6 million capital project that will make it possible to consolidate the primary and middle schools on one campus.

As the “new ground” was uplifted, so were the spirits of those who gathered for the official beginning of a new era of Banks Schools.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Tammy Calhoun, Banks School teacher. “But I keep remembering what Don Renfroe said, that, ‘As sad as it was to see the old school go, if a new school will provide better educational opportunities for our kids, then ‘let her go!’ Today, we ‘let her go’ and we now begin a new era at Banks School.”

Bazzell said McKee and Associates Architects is the architectural firm for the 14,000-square-foot Banks School and Beasley Construction Services is the contractor. He expressed confidence that Banks School will be a source of pride for all who enter the hallways.

Bazzell said the Banks School campus is designed to provide the best and most current educational trends of today and to meet the educational challenges of the future.

“Banks School will continue to provide the highest quality education and the most current educational opportunities for its students,” he said. “We look forward to the consolidation of the Banks Schools and the growth of the Banks family.”

Linda Steed, board member and graduate of Banks School, said Bazzell and the board are always searching for new ways to forge forward in all schools in the Pike County System.

“A new school for Banks is a project that we have been working toward for a long time,” Steed said. “Today, with the ground-breaking ceremony, it has begun. This new school will meet the needs of our students today and the many tomorrows to come.”

Shantell Rouse, Banks School principal said the new school building is an opportunity to have all students on one campus.

“Being all together makes us more secure and improves overall supervision,” Rouse said. “The new Banks School will provide an environment that is more conducive to learning and will meet the educational challenges of the future. We are excited and looking forward to bringing the Banks family together.”

Family is a word that has been used for generations to acknowledge the spirit of fellowship that exists among Banks School, the Town of Banks and the extended community.

“Here in Banks, we are family,” said Lisa Culpepper, Banks Town mayor. “The school is where Banks can experience the most growth, educational growth.”

Culpepper added with a smile that the Town of Banks is nearly land-locked, therefore, commercial growth is rather limited.

“There is a strong sense of community here, the town and the school,” she said. “We continue to take great pride in our school. The new Banks School will provide opportunities for continuing growth in educational opportunities here in Banks. We are excited and look forward to the day our new school opens.”