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New Hallsville High School campus 'centerpiece' of district, community

By Richard Yeakley
Aug. 4, 2012 at 10 p.m.

HALLSVILLE - Hundreds of alumni, students, parents and community members poured into Hallsville High School's new coliseum Saturday for the dedication of the campus set to open this month.

Approved as part of a $96 million bond by voters in November 2007, the new 370,000-square-foot high school will be open for students when school begins Aug. 27.

Hallsville High School Principal John Martin saw the dedication of the new campus in the 600 block of Cal Young Road as a statement to the recent growth of the city and the school district.

"This is a great centerpiece not just for this district but for the whole community - for the whole town of Hallsville," Martin said. "This is a great centerpiece that is going to draw people and make them want to live here, want to shop here, and want to stay in this community."

Martin, who has been connected to the school district for more than 30 years, said it is difficult to believe the growth and change it has undergone.

"I was an '87 graduate of Hallsville, and I remember what it was like then. And what I look at right now, all I can say is, 'Wow!' " Martin said.

The day's events included a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the whole school, dedications of the culinary arts department and the school's Foundation Plaza, guided tours and a concert with the Bobcat Band and alumni band members.

The honor of cutting the ribbon went to senior Bryan McBride, president of the student council, the senior class and the National Honor Society this year who turned 17 on Saturday.

"It's a big deal - seeing the community and how everyone came out is incredible," McBride said.

Sherri Morgan, band director at the high school for 40 years, agreed with McBride. Morgan said she could not believe the beauty of the campus.

"It looks wonderful. I have never been in a high school like this. It's just like a college," Morgan said.

This will be the third Hallsville High School that Morgan, who graduated from Hallsville in 1970, will have experienced. It is Hallsville ISD's fourth high school campus.

"It's just such an honor to walk through these halls. To me they are going to be hallowed halls," Morgan said.

"This is a continuation of the great success Hallsville schools have had and the support the community has give given the school district for decades," said Jim Dunlap, school district superintendent.

Many alumni returned to attend the dedication, including James Lovelace, a 1946 graduate who has also served three terms on the school board.

Lovelace's twin granddaughters graduated from Hallsville where they now teach in lower grades, and his son, Gary, played an active role in the construction of the new high school as director of facility planning and development for the school district.

"This school and Hallsville are out of this world," Lovelace said after the dedication ceremony.

The least excited visitors of the dedication were Hallsville High School students.

Although some said they were ready to start the school year, others said they would prefer to remain at the South Central Street campus.

Kalee LaGrone, who will be a junior in the fall, said she didn't want to re-learn a new campus.

"I don't want to be a freshman again - I like the old one," LaGrone said.

Sarah Henderson, who will also be a junior, said that although she was excited about the future, she hated to leave the other high school.

"I was raised in Hallsville, so I guess I was just used to the other one," Henderson said. "That band hall has so many memories."

And although Logan and Alina Wiedeman, sophomore and junior, respectively, said the new campus was "Much more comfortable" and "A lot better than the old one," they said it still lacked something they couldn't define.

Guests poured in throughout the day to walk around the campus or take a guided tour.

"We are delighted with the turnout from the community," said school district spokeswoman Carol Greer.



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