Mt. Vernon unveils new high school to residents, lawmakers - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Mt. Vernon unveils new high school to residents, lawmakers


A brand new $76 million high school is now open to the public in Mt. Vernon, Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, and a number of local representatives and politicians attended the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, August 19.

“I think it gives him a good look at what our community cares about.” MVTHS Senior Connor Pigg said.“What we included in the school gives a good look of what we expect, and what we expect of him. We expect facilities like this.”

Pigg was one of the students leading Rauner’s tour on Friday.

The building replaces all 11 buildings of the old high school, which is more than 100 years old.

Crews broke ground for the new facility in September 2014, which will be able to accommodate more than 1,800 students and features a 45,000 square foot career center, a broadcast studio, full-service automotive, machining and welding labs.

The new school is replacing the existing campus that contained 11 buildings constructed between 1905 and the late 1970s.

The project received $48 million in state funding as part of the school construction grant program, but millions of that grant funding was in limbo for nearly a year while Illinois lawmakers argued over a state budget.

“I was very worried," Mt. Vernon resident Audreye Seals said as she toured the building with her son, who starts classes as a freshman next week

“I really think the environment that the children are learning in plays a huge part in their success.”

The school received a portion of what they were promised to construct the school in June, and construction thereby continued as planned.

“Had that stopgap not happened, we would have not had the borrowing capacity to finish on time.” Superintendent Michael Smith said after the ceremony.

“Had that not happened-- our second payment-- this project would have been put on hold.”

The project is two-thirds state-funded.

The students of Mt. Vernon Township High School invited the governor to attend the grand opening when he visited the school back in March.

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