September 21, 2010
Students and community celebrated the groundbreaking of the Martin Ortiz Elementary School this morning at 33rd North and Arkansas. It is the first new school built with the $370 million bond issue that was passed in 2008.
The school is designed to address growth in the area and to help relieve overcrowding at Cloud Elementary. It will accommodate 450 students and will open its doors in the fall of 2012.
"Part of the reason that we're building this school at this location is to help offset some of the overcrowding we particularly have at Cloud and other area schools. So that will help us balance our student population as we open this new school as well," USD 259 Superintendent, John Allison said.
The Board of Education approved naming the school, the Martin Ortiz Elementary School, at last month's meeting. This will be Wichita's first Hispanic named school.
The late Martin Ortiz, a North High School graduate and founder of the Whittier College Center of Mexican American Affairs in California, was involved with many local, national and international programs, including advising and consulting with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"He loved to celebrate life and he would be so proud because as I said, this was his home," said John Ortiz, Martin Ortiz's brother, after giving a speech on behalf of the Ortiz family.
Construction began two months ago after tearing down the old Arkansas Avenue building to make room for the new school. Local architects and contractors will help build the new 62,000 square foot school.