Capital School District officials held a dedication Wednesday for its new $12 million Administration and Professional Development Center that replaced the trailer they had operated out of for years.
School district administrators had moved into the facility in July, but Wednesday morning was the official opening replete with city and state officials on hand to help celebrate the new headquarters as part of Capital’s ongoing facelift.
Capital Superintendent Dr. Michael Thomas said the new Administration Center would help the district in its quest to attract the best and brightest talent to greater Dover.
“The key to this building is that it projects a professional image for the Capital School District,” Thomas said. “We’re constantly out recruiting new teachers. We sign 40 to 50 teachers a year.
“And the morning we had new teacher orientation here, two of them made an almost identical statement. Their comment was, ‘If this building reflects anything about the Capital School District, I think I made the right decision,’” Thomas said.
“These things are incredibly important to a large organization like a school district.”
He said the district began to plan for a long-range master facilities plan in 2005 to change the face of Capital. Residents approved the major capital construction referendum that provided funding for the administration center with state-of-the-art technology, Dover High and a few other schools in 2010. The crown jewel of the project is the $114 million Dover High School being constructed for an autumn 2014 opening, he said.
That will complete the transformation and give members of the Capital community something to be proud of, Thomas said.
Joining Thomas for the celebration were students from South Dover Elementary School teacher of year Jennifer O’Keefe’s class for the Pledge of Allegiance, the Dover High School select ensemble led by choral director Brad Whitenight for the “Star Spangled Banner” and Capital Board of Education members Kay Dietz-Sass, Phillip Martino and Brian Lewis. With them were former school board members Kiran Clements, Tom Keitel and Doug Van Sant.
Dover High School Air Force JROTC members Robert Fleming, Michael Goldsboro, Harlie Norquest and Kyaire Hutchins did the presentation of colors at the outset of the celebration.
Also on hand for the Capital celebration were Mayor Carleton Carey Sr., City Manager Scott Koenig, Kent County Levy Court members Allan Angel and Bradley Eaby, State Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover) and Stat Rep. Darryl Scott (D-Dover).
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Scott spoke of how Thomas’ decision to pursue a capital construction referendum during tough economic times was the right one long term, and he thanked the community for its willingness to invest in its public schools for the sake of a quality education.
Bushweller spoke proudly of how his five children graduated from Dover High and experienced things like the select ensemble, band, softball and a state championship winning football team in the autumn of 1988.
“All five of our kids went on to graduate from very fine colleges and universities and pursued very successful careers,” he said. “It is you folks at the Capital School District who made sure that they and thousands of others became net positive contributors to the community.”
The rest of the boardroom was filled to capacity with administrators, parents and officials from Wilmington-based EDiS, the construction manager, and Dover-based Becker Morgan, the architectural firm for the new center.
Becker Morgan principal Gregg Moore told the South Dover Elementary students that he was proud to say he had gone to that school as well as Central Middle and Dover High schools. He told students that they too could be engineers one day or anything they wanted to be.