Administrators and directors of the Rolla Public School thanked the community Monday evening for supporting the construction of additions to three school buildings the past two years.

Administrators and directors of the Rolla Public School thanked the community Monday evening for supporting the construction of additions to three school buildings the past two years.

Afterwards, anyone who wanted had a chance to tour the additions at the Rolla High School and Rolla Middle School, just as they had last year at the Rolla Junior High School.

"We are so grateful to the patrons," said Jeanne Cavender, president of the Board of Education.

Speaking at the combined ceremony held at the Rolla High School, Cavender noted that most of the classrooms added at that school are science labs.

Cavender said she came to Rolla in 1982 and was "in awe at the number of students who chose careers in science fields each year." Last year, RHS graduated the largest number ever of students selecting higher education to prepare for STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) careers.

"All students are required to complete science credits, so this wing will be for all students," she said.

She also noted with pride that the new addition holds the new life skills classroom, bringing those special education students, who had been in a classroom in another building on the campus, into the high school building.

"I believe our students and faculty deserve to come to a safe environment, a clean environment and an up-to-date environment," she said.

Cavender thanked Dr. Jerry Giger, former superintendent, for "getting the ball rolling." She also thanked past board members Molly Malone, Robin Sooter and Kelly Long for their contributions.

Assistant Superintendent Kelly Hinshaw gave a brief history of the construction projects, explaining that in 2010 voters were asked to approve a "no-tax-increase" bond issue, meaning that it extended but did not increase a tax property owners were already paying.

The bond issue paid for an 18,000-square-foot addition at RJHS, which was completed first, a 20,000-square-foot addition and 40,000-square-foot remodeling at RHS, and a 7,000-square-foot addition at RMS.

Voters overwhelmingly supported the bond issue to pay for those additions with the tax that will continue for several years, and Hinshaw said the school district is grateful.

Rolla Middle School Principal Monica Davis said the addition at that school, while small, is important to the futures of those young people.

"We added three technology classrooms, a computer lab, a bathroom and a huge janitor's closet," she said, inviting those present to stop by for tours after the dedication at the high school.

A video of the building addition, produced by seventh grade students, was shown.

Hinshaw introduced or mentioned (some were not present) several people who supported or contributed to the projects, including:

• Sandi King, wife of the late Dr. D. Kent King, former superintendent and state commissioner of education;

• Mark Reuther, Aubrey Kishna and Bruce Dell, of Hoener Associates, the school district's architect;

• Jeff Wilson, project manager for Sircal, the general contractor at the high school, and Jim Dorge, project foreman.

• Mike Bennish, project manager for Bales Construction, general contractor at the middle school, and Steve Green, project foreman

• Faculty members Robert Studdard and A.J. Tinker and students Robert Watson, Seth Henson, Logan Grass and Marshall Rightnowar, who built the cabinets for the high school science labs, saving the school district more than $100,000;

• Technology director Ginger King

• Larry Moreland and the district's maintenance staff;

• Chris Headrick and the RHS custodial staff;

• City agencies such as the Rolla Police Department, Rolla Municipal Utilities and Volunteers in Police Service

Hinshaw thanked high school and middle school staff, students and parents for their patience.

Superintendent Dr. Aaron Zalis was in jury duty all day and arrived late. He did not participate in the formal ceremonies but greeted school patrons afterwards.

In his opening remarks and welcome to the community's residents to the open house and dedication, RHS Principal Dr. Jim Pritchett said it was difficult for him to put a suit and tie on for such a special day. He wanted to wear something more special.

"I just wanted to put on my Bulldog Pride tee-shirt," he said.

Rolla Middle School Choir sang the national anthem and a second song about the importance of individuals affecting the lives of other individuals.

"We're changing the world one person at a time," the young people sang. "It starts with me."

After the formal ceremony, board members, administrators, faculty and students moved outside for a ribbon-cutting with the Rolla Ambassadors, public relations arm of the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce.

Lemonade and cookies were served in the commons while students led tour groups throughout the addition and the remodeled section.

Tours were also available at the RMS addition.