Wichita breaks ground on new elementary school

WICHITA — Amid a drumroll, a strong breeze and lots of smiles, the Wichita district broke ground this morning on the first new school to be paid for by the 2008 bond issue.

The $7.6 million Martin Ortiz Elementary School at 33rd North and Arkansas is intended to help relieve crowding at nearby Cloud Elementary. It will accommodate about 450 kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

It also is the first Wichita school to be named for a Latino leader — the late Martin Ortiz. Ortiz, the first Latino student body president at Wichita's North High School, founded the Center for Mexican American Affairs at Whittier College in California.

"With the naming of this school, we are grateful that Martin has finally come home," said John Ortiz, Martin's brother, during today's ceremony.

"Through this legacy he will remain with us, to inspire people for years to come."

Martin Ortiz Elementary is set to open for the 2012-13 school year.

For more on this story, see Wednesday's Eagle.