With blue skies and gusty winds, Weatherford ISD broke ground on the new Shirley Hall Middle School in front of many community members, administrators, supporters and family of the school’s namesake.
Thursday, when the ceremony took place, would’ve have Shirley Hall’s 99th birthday. Hall died last year but several of her children and grandchildren, along with other family members, were in attendance to represent her and her legacy.
"My aunt was a wonderful homemaker and mother but she was also a great aunt," niece Sherryl Brown said. "She made up her mind at a young age that she was going to make a difference and she found her niche in Weatherford...it was an extraordinary achievement."
WISD Board President Ashley Conlon shared with those gathered the career accolades of Hall, saying she was a 30-year school board member who was never above anyone around her.
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"She was very accomplished but she was also one of us," Conlon said.
Conlon added that at the final school board meeting Hall served at in 1990, Hall was surprised at the announcement that the then Weatherford Middle School would be renamed in her honor.
WISD Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Hanks thanked everyone who supported the bond election that made the day possible and recognized current and former school board members and the Hall family.
"We couldn’t have done this without you," Hanks said.
Three groups participated in the dirt-turning ceremony including Hanks and school board members; members of the Hall family; and FACTS committee members and supporters.
After the outside event, everyone was invited to the Hall Middle School library for a reception that included cake and punch. The Hall family graciously greeted others and expressed their gratitude.
"My mom did so much and loved the Weatherford district," daughter Milly Hall Curry said. "It means so much to be able to honor her."
John Hall Jr., the second oldest of Hall’s five children, said his mother would have been "happy and very humbled."
"She was always amazed how Weatherford was growing," he said. "We loved our mom; she was the world’s best mom. She was a very giving person…I’m proud to be her son."
The new Shirley Hall Middle School will be built on the western portion of the existing campus and be ready for classes in August 2017. The school main entrance will change from Charles Street to S. Bowie Drive. New practice fields and parking will be provided on the eastern side of the campus when the existing school is demolished over the summer.
With the addition of a wing at Tison Middle School also approved, up to 1,100 students can be accommodated at each middle school campus. Though currently configured for seventh- and eighth-grade students, the middle schools will now house grades sixth through eight.
"Adding sixth graders at the middle schools will provide much-needed reductions of the student populations at all of the elementary schools and eliminate the need for portable classrooms," a WISD release stated.
The new design at Hall includes updated classrooms, arranged in "neighborhoods" by grade level; science and computer labs for each neighborhood; student collaboration spaces; updated athletic facilities; and more.
For detailed information on the project, visit www.weatherfordisd.com and click on ‘Bond’ on the right-side.