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Beaver Dam High School holds renovation dedication

September 24, 2018

Beaver Dam High School student Cristy Chavez cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the school's renovation dedication Saturday afternoon. From left are school board members Joanne Tyjeski, Bev Beal-Loeck, Activities Director Melissa Gehring, Superintendent Mark DiStefano (behind podium), Chavez, Principal Crystal Bates and school board member Gary Spielman.

Grateful, puzzled, amazed, stressed, elated, exhausted, relieved, thankful: These are all words Superintendent Mark DiStefano said were used to describe the Beaver Dam School District’s journey over the last 18 months.

More than 2,000 students, staff and community members turned out Saturday afternoon for Beaver Dam High School’s renovation dedication and open house.

“It took patience, persistence and a positive mindset to meet demands and challenges that a project this complex and this time-sensitive required in order to be actualized in the success that it has,” DiStefano said in his opening remarks.

Beaver Dam voters approved a referendum in November 2016 that provided $48.9 million in improvements in the school district, including remodeling most of the high school, except the science rooms which were remodeled in 2013. The current high school building was originally built in 1957. Renovations began in the summer of 2017, and the finishing touches are almost complete.

DiStefano offered profound thanks to staff members, saying they have endured, problem-solved and been tested by all that was going on; to the students for demonstrating extreme cooperation, ownership and respect throughout the process; to community members and neighbors for their patience and support; to emergency personnel for their care and commitment; and to members of the core project team who worked together for the future of Beaver Dam High School.

Principal Crystal Bates told the crowd assembled in the field house (which opened in January) that staff was hopeful in 2016 when the referendum was on the ballot.

“We’ve always known the Beaver Dam community to be a special place. We talk about how we bleed green and gold. We support rigorous academics, the arts, activities, athletics and so much more,” she said. “On that night in November we couldn’t help but feel a true sense of BD pride as our community showed their support for the entire district.”

In addition to DiStefano and Bates, program speakers included Eric Schmidt from contracting firm C.G. Schmidt, Nicholas Kent from Plunkett Raysich Architects, Board of Education President John Kraus Jr. and high school student representative Cristy Chavez.

The dedication ceremony also involved members of Bel Canto choir, under the direction of Mark Lefeber, singing “Beaver Dam Alma Mater.” School board members participated in a ribbon-cutting and the program concluded with Russell Diggins directing the high school pep band’s performance of “Beaver Fight Song.”

Attendees were treated to refreshments provided by the high school culinary arts class and Taher Inc. Everyone was invited to take self-guided tours of the facility and watch a historical high school video in the auditorium by Beaver Dam historian Roger Noll.

“Oohs and aahs” filled the hallways as the public got its first glimpse of the school’s new features, such as the fabrication lab, breakout areas, library media center, performing and visual arts areas.

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