PALMDALE – Palmdale School District officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday morning for the new David G. Millen Intermediate School.
“This is a dream come true, today is a real celebration,” said Palmdale School District Board President Sandy Corrales-Eneix. Corrales-Eneix, Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford, Interim Superintendent Pauline Winbush, and Michael Antonovich’s Field Deputy Norm Hickling gave brief remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The new campus will be located on 16 acres of land at 39221 22nd Street West in Palmdale. When completed, the 97,000-square-foot campus will include 41 teaching stations and eight main buildings, according to Al Tsai, Maintenance & Operations Administrator for Palmdale School District.
Actual construction on the projected $34 million campus will begin in late December/early January, and the campus is slated for completion in August 2015, Tsai said.
“It’s about an 18-month construction timeline,” Tsai said. The project is funded by monies from Measure DD.
“It’s just exciting to have construction be going on in the Antelope Valley, in Palmdale, because that will bring work to our local vendors,” said Interim Superintendent Pauline Winbush. “We utilize local vendors on our Measure DD projects as much as we can and so parents of our children will be able to utilize the funds of Measure DD.”
Once completed, the new campus will house students from Juniper Intermediate and from the David G. Millen Intermediate currently located on the back side of Summerwind Elementary.
“So you will have probably 1,200 students come opening day at this particular site,” Corrales-Eneix said, adding that the new state-of-the-art facility will be in a prime location.
“We have Summerwind Elementary about five blocks away from here, so those students will feed into David G. Millen Intermediate School, and then these students will feed into Highland High School, five blocks away,” Corrales-Eneix continued. “So it’s an easy transition…everything’s in the neighborhood.”
According to literature distributed at the groundbreaking ceremony:
“The new David G. Millen Intermediate School was designed collaboratively with input from Palmdale School District principals, through the programming and master planning process. Flexibility is a key theme throughout the design of the project, with features such as classrooms designed to interface with the AVID program and technology. The gym and multi-purpose room facilities can operate independently from the school during evening and weekend hours. As a safety and cost saving measure, windows are minimized and translucent skylight panels will be utilized in order to maximize natural daylighting in learning spaces.”
Thursday’s ceremonial groundbreaking also served as a tribute to the school’s namesake – renowned educator David G. Millen, who succumbed to Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2004. During his 29 years with the Palmdale School District, Millen served as principal at several schools, influenced hundreds of educators and was a coach and mentor to dozens of leaders.
“There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think to myself, ‘what a powerful, positive influence, David G. Millen…’ he is a great man and a great friend,” said Bob Rodrigo, who was assistant principal to Millen at Cimarron.
Millen’s widow, Sharon, attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
“I’m very very proud that those values that David held dear, not just for the academics and work pieces but for the relationships and the family pieces, are what’s lasting and that’s what you hear about here today,” Sharon Millen said. “As individuals, we can make a difference.”