Prekindergartner Breanna Warren's mother, grandparents and great-grandparents attended not just the same school, but also the same school building.
But Breanna helped change that Tuesday by digging two full shovels of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Dodge Literacy Magnet Elementary School set to open in fall 2011.
"I wrote everybody was going to move to the new school," Breanna said of her essay that landed her a spot on the official groundbreaking team. "It's pretty neat."
Dodge is one of five new schools set to start construction this summer as part of the $370 million bond issue voters approved in November 2008.
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The other four new buildings are for Isely Traditional Magnet Elementary School, Spaght Traditional Magnet Elementary School, the new northeast K-8 school and the new north elementary school.
Dodge, which was built in 1940 at 4801 W. Second St., between West Street and I-235, didn't receive much improvement during the 2000 bond issue because it was operated by the Edison Project, as were Isely and Spaght.
"It's about time we're able to do something about Dodge," superintendent John Allison said to a crowd of elementary students, teachers and parents. "When you see the new school, you'll know it's worth the wait."
The new 64,595-square-foot school will include two music rooms, an art room, computer lab and a multipurpose room that is also a FEMA storm shelter.
"They're going to have more areas to learn," said Breanna's grandmother Shirley Warren.
Central air conditioning will replace window units now in use.
The new Dodge building is being constructed next to the current building. Once the new Dodge building is complete, the older building will be demolished.
The Dodge building was contracted for $8.1 million, which is about $1.4 million under the project's original budget. The slump in the economy has caused fierce bidding among contractors, giving the district good deals, officials said.
So far district officials said they have contracted $19.3 million in bond projects, and the projects are $3 million under the original bond plan budget.
Dodge students said they look forward to the new building, but they also formed fond memories in the one already standing.
"I hope the new school is better than the old one, but it's the teachers and students that make it great," fourth-grader Ryan Samms told his fellow students.