OFFICIALS BREAK GROUND FOR ENDEAVOUR CAMPUS.
LANCASTER -- Lancaster School District officials ceremonially broke ground Wednesday for a $15.5 million middle school that is under construction in west Lancaster. It's expected to open for classes in July.
Endeavour Middle School's construction had been delayed by contractors' bids that came in millions of dollars higher than expected, and officials also had to get through concerns about nearby electrical lines and whether burrowing owls lived on its site.
``This has truly been an endeavor to get to this point,'' Lancaster School District Superintendent Steve Gocke said at the groundbreaking, with construction equipment and builders at work behind him.
About 650 Endeavour students are attending classes now in east Lancaster at a former elementary school campus, which was reopened as the middle school's temporary site in 2004. The permanent campus, on 45th Street West at Avenue K, is designed to accommodate about 1,000 students.
Endeavour students are getting to watch the construction progress via videotapes shown through the campus television show, Principal Bob Porter said.
``I can't tell you how exciting it is to live in a temporary site for a year or two and watch a permanent site get built,'' he said.
The district is receiving $18 million in state hardship funding to finance construction of the school, but that was not enough to cover the cost of the entire project.
School officials cut costs by eliminating the planned gymnasium and half the playing fields and by putting the project out to bid in phases, district officials said.
The main building will contain the administration offices, multipurpose room, specialty classrooms, kitchen, library and computer lab. The campus will have 26 portable classrooms.
To reduce costs and the time needed to get the necessary state approvals, Endeavour's design was based on that of New Vista Middle School, with modifications for changes in building codes because New Vista was built more than 14 years ago.
(1 -- color) Lancaster School District Superintendent Steve Gocke speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for Endeavour Middle School in Lancaster on Wednesday as work on the school goes on behind him.
(2 -- color) The Lancaster High School Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard stands by as Endeavour Middle School Principal Bob Porter, center, leads the Pledge of Allegiance at the groundbreaking.
(3) Work is done on the foundation of buildings for Endeavour Middle School, with a temporary building in background.
Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer