Burros begin to build new history by breaking new ground

A groundbreaking, also known as cutting, sod-cutting, turning the first sod or a sod-turning ceremony, is a traditional ceremony in many cultures that celebrates the first day of construction for a building or other project. Such ceremonies are often attended by dignitaries such as politicians and businessmen.

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Hillsboro High School added another historic moment to its 75+ years of history. After nine years of planning by council members, parents and multiple school administrations,  Hillsboro High School broke new ground Wednesday morning when community members gathered on the school’s front lawn to celebrate the official beginning of the building renovation.

Demolition of sections of the school will begin early in September, and the groundbreaking ceremony marks the beginning of the construction and renovation of an eighty-eight million dollar project that will replace most of the current campus.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry speaks at the ground breaking ceremony at Hillsboro High School, Wednesday, August 23, 2017. The school was recently approved for an eighty-eight million dollar reconstruction/renovation that begins on September 1. (photo Angel Powell)

Dignitaries who included the Mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry and MNPS Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph celebrated with parents, faculty, council members and alumni.

Others who participated were MNPS School Board member who represents the Hillsboro Cluster Mary Pierce, council member, Russ Pierce, and MNPS Southwest Superintendent, Dorothy Critchlow.

The campus which has been located on Hillsboro Pike for over 75 years has been an educational institution of the Nashville community since 1939 when the area of Green Hills was considered to be a rural area of Davidson County.

Prior to the incorporation of Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County and the surrounding area county schools, Nashville had two school systems: a county system and a city system.

At the time, Hillsboro High was so far away from the center of downtown it was considered to be a county school. As such, its fierce rivals were other county schools such as Madison, Isaac Litton, Bellevue and Glencliff.

But as Nashville grew, in 1965 under the mayoral direction of Mayor Beverly Briley, the whole county became one metropolitan district and one school system.

The majority of Hillsboro’s current facilities were built before the city became Metro when the school was rebuilt after a fire burned most of the school on Halloween in 1954. The greater Green Hills community that encompasses the Hillsboro zone is thrilled that the groundbreaking ceremony signifies the beginning of the renovation of a building in desperate need of upgrades.

As guests and community members arrived to the event, Hillsboro Academies of Nashville Ambassadors greeted guests and directed them to the front lawn that is adjacent to Hillsboro Pike.

The ceremony began at 11:00 a.m. with the Hillsboro Marching Band’s playing of the National Anthem.

Pullquote Photo

 “​Your​ ​efforts​ ​and​ ​support​ ​are stitched​ ​on​ ​the​ ​bricks​ ​and​ ​mortar​ ​soon​ ​to​ ​be​ ​put​ ​into​ ​place,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​am​ ​proud​ ​to​ ​say​ ​that​ ​I​ ​will​ ​be​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the class​ ​that​ ​will​ ​experience​ ​the​ ​kindness​ ​and​ ​compassion​ ​from​ ​them.” ”

— Linh Phan, Hillsboro student representative from class of 2020

Dr. Pelham, who is in his third year as the Executive Principal, welcomed the community and offered a brief history of the legacy of Hillsboro High School. “It has been a pleasure to work with so many of you who have come together around this project – from our elected officials who have secured funding to our district leaders who have overseen the design to our school staff, students families and neighbors who make Hillsboro a beacon of pride for our community. It is especially wonderful to have so many former principals such as Dr. Jean Litterer and Dr. Terry Shrader here to help us celebrate.  I cannot wait to invite you all back when this project is finished to cut the ribbon on this new building.”

Dr. Shuler Pelham welcomes guests to the official ground breaking ceremony for the 88 million dollar renovation of Hillsboro High School

Following Dr. Pelham’s remarks, Linh Pham a student representative of the class of 2020 was introduced. As a sophomore, she will be a senior when the construction of the school is scheduled to be complete, barring any unforeseen roadblocks.

As a Hillsboro scholar, Pham explained how much she and fellow students appreciate the ​support​ ​from​ ​the​ ​community​. “It ​has​ ​been​ ​unprecedented.​ ​By​ ​being​ ​here,​ ​today,​ ​you​ ​have supported​ ​a​ ​cornerstone​ ​of​ ​the​ ​community​ ​that​ ​its​ ​benefits​ ​are​ ​not​ ​yet​ ​seen.​”

Speaking directly to Mayor Barry and the parents who had gathered to sit on the front row, Pham went on to explain,  “​Your​ ​efforts​ ​and​ ​support​ ​are stitched​ ​on​ ​the​ ​bricks​ ​and​ ​mortar​ ​soon​ ​to​ ​be​ ​put​ ​into​ ​place,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​am​ ​proud​ ​to​ ​say​ ​that​ ​I​ ​will​ ​be​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the class​ ​that​ ​will​ ​experience​ ​the​ ​kindness​ ​and​ ​compassion​ ​from​ ​them.”