Thursday, August 9, 2007







Community tours new MHS
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Oohs and ahs could be heard up and down the halls as citizens explored the new Mabank High School.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Visitors look around in awe while walking through the second-floor hallway at MHS.

Following an inspiring dedication ceremony, Mabank Independent School District residents toured the shiny, brand new building for the first time.
The 750-seat auditorium was packed for the dedication ceremony Sunday afternoon. A loud buzz could be heard all over as everyone talked about what they had seen coming in.
Then suddenly, everything became quiet as Principal Dr. Tommy Wallis walked out on the stage, followed by a rousing cheer as he welcomed everyone to “The ‘new’ Mabank High School.”
Board president Gary Sapp noted that it had been only 18 months since the groundbreaking.
“It is a great long-term investment,” Sapp said.
He recognized the Citizens Facility Committee, Dr. Wallis and his staff and introduced State Rep. Betty Brown.
Brown commended the community and its success.
“This high school will serve the community for many years to come. So, best wishes and I want to present this flag, flown over the State Capital,” she said.
Ed Busch, with the Facilities Committee, recalled their first tour of the old high school to assess the need.
“We went to the library. It was cold and there was no heat. Water was splashing into a child’s swimming pool on a desk as it dripped from the ceiling,” he recalled.
That was three years ago.
Now, Wallis is statewide Principal of the Year, Dr. Russell Marshall is the District 10 Superintendent of the Year for the second straight year, Busch reminded the audience, who clapped and cheered.
Marshall told the audience the new school has been in the minds of many for several years.
He asked former school board members to stand, and among those was Dr. John Loar.
Marshall then asked former school employees to stand, and then current employees.
He asked those present to think forward to how their children will benefit from the new school.
“If this doesn’t challenge your children and mine, I don’t know what will,” Marshall said as he asked the audience to stand and be part of the first standing ovation in the new auditorium.
Following the dedication pledge by all present, Marshall said a prayer.
He gave thanks to God for the building, and that no one suffered serious injury during its construction.
He dedicated the building to the students, to the community and to God.
The audience was dismissed to tour the building and to enjoy refreshments provided by the Facilities Committee members.
The approximately $30 million structure came in on time and on budget.
It is a two-story, 210,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility with 68 academic teaching areas, eight of which are science labs.
The building has a library and computer labs, specialized areas for food, art and fabric, and a life science lab for special education students.
Students are welcomed into a large commons area that features a 24-foot ceiling.
The 1,500-seat competition gym allows for student athletic events and other assemblies, and a physical education gym that seats 400 can be used for smaller events.
The fine arts area consists of band and choir halls with plenty of practice rooms.
The school was designed by Claycomb Associates, Architects and constructed by Charter Builders, Ltd.

Early Childhood Center opens for MISD employees
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Four bright, colorful rooms are ready to help Mabank Independent School District employees with small children.
The Early Childhood Development Center, for children aged six weeks to about five years, allows teachers and employees the security of knowing their children are near and safe while they are working.
“Our room leads (teachers or caregivers) have each worked hard to get their rooms ready,” coordinator Edna Duncan said.
“This will be a great asset to the district,” she added.
The department already has approximately 35 students, mostly under 2, signed up.
“Their parents can come down to visit on breaks and/or have lunch with their child. We will encourage their visits,” Duncan said.
State inspectors cleared the school for tiny students during a visit the last week of July, she said.
“This is a Class ‘A’ program,” Duncan said she was told by the state inspector.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
The 2- to 3-year-old classroom for tiny tots gets the once-over from big brother Dillon Strong, assistant teacher Becky Scott and new student 3-year-old Becky Strong. Dillon shows Becky the magic of each new toy she will get to play with once Mom goes to work.