By Sarah Lang The Lebanon Reporter
---- — Lebanon — As Lebanon school Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor cut the grand opening ribbon Tuesday at Lebanon High School, he declared the school to be open without any contractors or construction crews.
Construction work began on the high school in 2011, after a $40 million corporation-wide referendum project was passed by voters in 2010. Work continued at LHS for the last three years in phases, as students continued to attend school in the building. Bob Ross, executive director of resource and operations, has been updating the school board of trustees for the past few months that crews were working on punch list items. And Tuesday, school officials and community members celebrated the official end of the project.“Very seldom do you have a vision that becomes a reality. But we finally come to this day, after all the frustrations and hesitations, and we can say it was a job well done,” Taylor said. “Thank you so much for all you’ve done to make this vision a reality, one that will be here for years to come.”Taylor called the project a true validation of a life’s career. He described a significant day for him, the beginning of school last fall, as students ran up the steps to the newly renovated high school carrying their new computer bags.“There is no school better in the state of Indiana,” he said. “The students are blessed to have the facility you were able to provide.”Taylor introduced the guest speaker, Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis, saying that Lewis has been a critical part of this project because he understands the importance of a school corporation to the community. He called Lewis a champion of LHS.“As I look at this facility, it amazes me what it has become,” Lewis said. “It blows me away. It was a true community project.”Lewis described the Herman B Wells community center, where the celebration was held, as a partnership between the city and the schools. It was financed by both entities. Lewis was exploring options to build a center where researchers from Purdue and Indiana universities could meet. Upon explaining this to Taylor, Taylor asked if LHS would work.“I talk to mayors every day, and they don’t have this partnership we have,” Lewis said. “It’s critical for a city to have a school corporation like we have. I’d put our schools up against any other in the state. We are a model, and we’re just scratching the surface.”Ross called the construction process difficult but most of all rewarding. He took community members on a tour of the high school at the conclusion of the ceremony, where they saw updated facilities like the auditorium, the weight room, the culinary arts rooms, and the cafeteria.