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Groundbreaking Ceremonies at Wheat MS Signal Start to Renovation Project


                The $47.2 million renovation and construction project for A.D. Wheat Middle School is now underway, following Sunday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

                The transformation of Wheat will be conducted in phases, beginning with Phase One in January, with the construction of 27 additional classrooms along the north and east end of the building. The project for Wheat led the initiatives approved by voters in the May bond referendum as the campus, which opened in 1991, undergoes major improvements and upgrades, including the relocation of the main entry, new competition gymnasium, weight room and dressing room facilities and the renovation of an existing gym into a library and media center.

                From theater arts to a new turf competition field, Wheat will be addressed from every angle, resulting in the return to its original use as a campus serving the district’s seventh and eighth grades. The project will be complete by the start to the 2023-2024 school year and will serve a capacity of 1,450 students.

                 “The namesake of this campus, A.D. Wheat, was an educator and supporter of doing good deeds,” School Board President Elizabeth Childress said. “There are a lot of people who can be credited for good deeds in bringing us to this moment, beginning with those who served on our CISD Academic Alignment Advisory and Facility Advisory Committees.”

                “We are very grateful to our community in their passage of components within Bond 2021, that are allowing us to do more in the education process for the students who will be served at Wheat Middle School,” Childress said. “If you drive anywhere around Cleburne, you can’t help but notice the new housing that is coming in. We have now reached the status of a fast-growth school district, and bond referendums and groundbreaking events may become a bit more commonplace.”

                Student representatives from both Smith Middle School and Wheat Middle School, wearing t-shirts bearing the message “2023-2024 Jackets Unite” and “Smith/Wheat: Better Together” were among those equipped with hardhats and shovels, as participants in the groundbreaking event. Renovations for Smith were also approved in the 2021 bond referendum, in its conversion to serve as the fifth-sixth grade intermediate campus with the start of the 2023-2024 school year. Additions to square footage at the campus will bring student capacity to 1,450.

                “This is an exciting time for Cleburne ISD,” Smith Principal Dr. Amber White said. “Today marks the start of construction at Wheat, and ultimately a new journey for students beginning in the fifth grade, as they grow together as Jackets. We are looking forward to Smith’s new role as the district’s intermediate school, and the opportunity to be the bridge between elementary and middle school learning.”

                Wheat Principal Crystal Kampen said the 2023-2024 school year couldn’t come soon enough in allowing her teachers and staff the opportunity to build on the strength of students as they progress into middle school.

                “This is about academics, but it’s also about unity in bringing our students together by the fifth grade and on into middle school, then high school,” she said. “As we look out as these kids here today, we can’t tell who goes to Smith and who goes to Wheat—they are all Yellow Jackets.”