School of Discovery holds groundbreaking ceremony

Published 6:47 am Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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The School of Discovery (SOD) held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new school on Feb. 9. 

Selma City School officials, Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr., Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy and Selma City Council members participated in the groundbreaking ceremony event with Steward Construction and McKee and Associates. 

SCS Board President Johnny Moss Jr. delivered the welcome address and on the $17.8 million property for the performing arts magnet academyI . The school will focus on 2D and 3D art, music and theater. The school will include computer, music and science labs, art and dance studios and classrooms. Pickard Auditorium will get a huge renovation.

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“We are grateful to help students realize and reach their full potential,” Moss said. 

Perkins delivered a powerful prayer, saying that the city is honored to help ensure students have a bright future.

“This is a great opportunity to deliver financially to our children,” Perkins said. “It’s not about bricks and mortars, it’s about the future of our children.”

SCS Superintendent Dr. Zickeyous Byrd said the new SOD will increase academic prowess for students.

“The School of Discovery will be a place where our children will have the tools to realize their dreams and potential,” Byrd said. “And the focus will be on enhancing STEAM education through rich content in innovative hands on and minds-on experiences,” 

Selma City Council President Billy Young and city councilman Michael Johnson, whose SOD is in his Ward 8 District, spoke at the event.

“It’s a blessed day and I thank Mayor Perkins for his outstanding prayer about the schools and the city,” Young said. 

Johnson recalled the days when he attended SOD, which was Selma’s first junior high school.

“I didn’t want to see the old School of Discovery torn down, but a new school will be better for the students,” Johnson said. 

Darrell Steward, owner of Steward Construction, said he appreciates his company working  on the project.

“We’re so glad to be part of rebuilding the School of Discovery,” Steward said. 

SCS board member and city of Selma Planning and Development Director Danielle Wooten said funding was debt-free because the amount came from local, state and federal governments.

“It’s the beginning of a new journey at the School of Discovery,” Wooten said. 

Brenda Obamanu, SCS board member and mother of former NFL wide receiver Ben Obamanu, recalled memories of working at the SOD.

“I was selected as a teacher to work at the School of Discovery,” Obamanu said. “The School of Discovery selected their teachers to work there.”

McKee and Associates, based out of Montgomery, came up with the new design. They were picked by SCS to design the new school.

“We appreciate the Selma City School choosing McKee and Associates for designing the new School of Discovery,” McKee and Associates President John Hart said.

Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn said he is looking forward for the new SOD.

“I applaud Dr. Byrd and the Selma City Board of Education on this groundbreaking,” Nunn said. “I am excited about the new performing arts magnet academy. This investment of $17.8 million by the school system will be a great boost in our economy. With it being a local contractor, the monies will remain in Dallas County.

“This is a new beginning for the school system and I am confident that the quality of education is about to grow by leaps and bounds. Let’s keep growing.”

Dr. Kesia Smith, a 1994 graduate of Selma High School, shared her memories of working at the SOD.

I enjoyed the 12 years I worked at School of Discovery Genesis Center,” Smith said. “I’m excited that SOD will be restored to its original glory of being a-magnet school. I hope the new school will be embraced by all members of the community.”

Selma City Council members Lesia James and Jannie Thomas also attended the event.