The light rain may have moved the ceremony indoors, but it could not dampen the spirits of several hundred young scholars yesterday afternoon. Mayor Bowser, Councilmember Brandon Todd and a host of dignitaries descended upon the school to celebrate the groundbreaking of the $13.4 million Shepherd Park Community Center.
The Shepherd Park Community Center will consist of the addition of a new recreation center that is attached to the existing Shepherd Elementary School. It will include a regulation-sized gymnasium, multipurpose room, and fitness center. The recreation center will be utilized by the elementary school during school hours as their gymnasium and dining cafeteria. The facility will be operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation for the community’s usage in the evenings.
The audience of students and parents were in a festive mood and eager to hear some welcoming comments from the Mayor and Councilmember.
Mayor Muriel Bowser
I have just a few words to say and a few very important friends to introduce to you as well. What your principal was talking about was a very nice new addition that we’re going to build for all of you that will help you enjoy school, learn even more, have more activities, and is going to be a beautiful, sustainable (which means it’s good for the earth) building to boot. I am not going to say much more about the wonderful community center that’s going to be built here. I want to make sure that all of the people responsible have an opportunity to speak to you.
I just want to say how grateful I have been to work with Councilmember Todd. Because my job is to run the city and make sure that Chancellor Ferebee and the schools have everything that they need. Councilmember Todd is your representative just for your communities right here in Ward 4. He has been very focused on making sure that Shepherd has everything that it needs. When we go down to city hall, all of the money and resources, ideas and plans that it takes to make something like this happen, stays in place. I’m really grateful to Councilmember Todd for that. So let me introduce your councilmember for Ward 4 and for Shepherd Elementary School, Councilmember Brandon Todd!
Councilmember Brandon Todd
Thank you so much Mayor Bowser and good afternoon Shepherd Elementary! I am really, really excited to be here with you all this afternoon to break ground on the new Shepherd Community center. Let’s give the new Shepherd Community Center a hand! We are so excited that today we will break ground on a $13.4 million facility that will allow the young people, the boys and girls at Shepherd Elementary school to host basketball games at Shepherd! A rock-climbing wall! An amazing indoor recess space for you all!
Not only are we going to build you a new community center, but we, an amazing state of the art cafeteria to go right along with it! We’re going to take this room and give you some new floors and new paint to make it look really fresh just like the rest of the building, right? The investment that we are making now will complement the $40 million that we put into Shepherd Elementary School just four short years ago. And we’re making all of these amazing investments in this school for some pretty amazing students, right? So that you have everything you need to be future doctors and lawyers and the future Ward 4 councilmember, we’re going to make sure that you have an amazing elementary school with everything that you could ever want to do here. So I want to take a minute to and thank your principal, Dr. Hedlund and all your teachers and staff at Shepherd. Let’s give them a rough of applause!
I want to thank your PTA President Liz Bradley, and a number of parents, Kristen Baldwin. They’ve been so helpful in making sure that we got here today. I also want to acknowledge Naima Jefferson and the Shepherd Park Citizens Association, all of the neighbors pushing so hard for this wonderful investment. So congratulations, Sheppard Elementary school! Yes!