District breaks ground, history

Community invited for ground breaking ceremony

(Right to Left) Kevin Powers (ENG Tech owner), Joan Klein (ENG Tech), Darrell Remington, Jeremy Ottmar, Ben Auch, Stacy Hertz, Bill Gion, Viola LaFontaine, Lucas Greff, Don Schaible, Brad Greff, Lyle Hoffer, Troy Mosbrucker, and Kevin ‘Helge’ Roth stand before breaking ground where the new school will be built. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Herald)
(Right to Left) Kevin Powers (ENG Tech owner), Joan Klein (ENG Tech), Darrell Remington, Jeremy Ottmar, Ben Auch, Stacy Hertz, Bill Gion, Viola LaFontaine, Lucas Greff, Don Schaible, Brad Greff, Lyle Hoffer, Troy Mosbrucker, and Kevin ‘Helge’ Roth stand before breaking ground where the new school will be built. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Herald)

By COLE BENZ
Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

For the first time in more than 100 years, the Mott-Regent School District broke ground on a new school. It was a cool Friday evening, where the community gathered for a picnic to kick off the start of the new school year, and partake in a ceremony to recognize the start of a new school.

Before the ceremony began, food was served and kids ran around the playground as if they hadn’t been there all summer. The adults conversed and dignitaries of the region were present for the monumental occasion. Senator Don Schaible, Mott Mayor Troy Mosbrucker, and Regent Mayor Lyle Hoffer were in attendance.

After food was served, everyone gathered in the high school gymnasium for a short program before heading outside to put their shovels in the dirt.

Current district superintendent Viola Lafontaine opened the program with a small speech and a some introductions. Though she has only been on the job a few months, she said she was fortunate to be in the district during such a special time.

“I feel very privileged to be a part of the history being made in the Mott-Regent School District,” she said.

The process to get to this point can be dated back more than 30 years. During the opening program, Greff said that the district attempted to get a new building in 1984. A remodel took place soon after the failed bid and that project gave the district more than three decades before another change was deemed necessary.

When it finally came to fruition that the building was decaying, the district again went to the community two years ago and a bond referendum vote failed before the second one was passed this past June.

“I think in a lot of ways this process reflects what’s best about this community,” Greff said during the program. “It wasn’t wam-bam and moving on.”

Greff recognized the Vision For The Future committee for their efforts and for bringing the information to the public this past spring.

“Then the community stepped it, and those members of that Vision For The Future committee I commend you, you guys did a tremendous job, you brought this to the people in a way that it was simple and they were involved from the beginning and involved all the way to the end, and they’re still involved,” Greff said.

Along with Greff, Senator Schaible, and Darrell Remington (who spent 40 years in the school district), each said a few words during the presentation before being led outside by LaFontaine.

It was a picturesque moment for the town. The weather was clear after rain hampered the region earlier that day.

But the showers brought on a good omen.

A vibrant rainbow arched over the school as members of the communities of Mott and Regent stood outside, in anticipation of the ceremony.

Fourteen people took part in the groundbreaking, which included LaFontaine, Greff, Schaible, Remington, Mosbrucker, past school board president Kevin ‘Helge’ Roth, representatives from ENG Tech and Consolidated Construction, and some members of the Mott-Regent School Board.

LaFontaine said the interest rate they received came in lower than expected, which will save the property owners money. The interest rate came in at about 2.35 percent, and LaFontaine said early estimations were around 3 percent.

“To me, that’s a good start for us,” LaFontaine said.

In a full-circle gesture, the adults deferred to the children in attendance to dig up some dirt. The same kids that will benefit from the new building, were participating in the start of what will be a year-long process.

“It’s all about them,” LaFontaine said.

The building is tentatively scheduled to be finished by next school year. Bid opening will be on Aug. 23.

“That will be our first gauge to kind of tell us where bids are coming [in],” she said.

LaFontaine also said that the project is generating a lot of interest for multiple contractors, which she said is good competition.

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