On Tuesday morning, Nov. 1, 2022, the Cook County School System and Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce partnered for two ribbon cuttings to celebrate the recent completion of the Cook High School Softball Complex and the Board of Education’s new Administrative Building.
CHS Principal Dr. Joi Williams gave the welcome and made introductions for the Softball Complex ribbon cutting. She thanked everyone who supported the projects and attended the event. “This is definitely a great day to be a Hornet,” she said.
Board of Education Member Sharon Locklear delivered the invocation, followed by remarks from Board of Education Chair Jeff Taylor. Head Softball Coach Rusty Beale said in his remarks that the facility is one of the best in the state and has received numerous compliments from visitors for softball game days. Chamber of Commerce President Heather Green also praised the facility.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tim Dixon said the new softball complex resulted from a community effort and a team effort among many community stakeholders brought the project to fruition. He thanked the current and previous Board of Education members for their vision in pursuing the project and other school facility improvements. On June 9, 2020, local citizens went to the polls and passed a renewal of the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) to pay for the new facilities, Dr. Dixon said. “Thank you, Cook County citizens, for your continued support of the school system.”
Following the ribbon cutting, the attendees got the opportunity to tour the softball field complex with a locker room, a dugout, an indoor practice facility that provides batting cages, and a concession stand. Dr. Dixon noted that one of the coolest parts of the complex is that players can leave the locker room and go directly into the dugout and then onto the field. “There are many colleges across the nation where you can’t do that,” he said.
Following the softball complex tour, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new state-of-the-art BOE Administrative Building. The Board of Education meeting room features audio-visual improvements that allow the public to more easily observe BOE meetings and information presented to the BOE via Facebook live-streaming, with the goal of increasing transparency. The multi-functional building is being used for many different meetings.
Dr. Dixon gave the welcome and introductions for this ceremony, followed by remarks from Lyndy Jones, president of JCI Contractors, the project contractor. JCI joined Altman and Barrett Architects in working on the projects. Jones said JCI has been a part of new school facility projects since the new high school was built in 2005. “We’re so blessed to have been a part of these projects for so long,” Jones said.
Each of the Board of Education members then gave remarks, including BOE Chair Jeff Taylor, Member Sharon Locklear, Member Brenda Moore, and Member Chad Sumner. (BOE Vice Chair Corkey Taylor was unable to attend.) The BOE members all reiterated the teamwork that allowed the new School Administrative Building to be constructed after the old Central Office had been in use for several decades. Board Member Sumner emphasized the faithfulness and vision that had allowed the school system to reach the BOE Administrative Building as the final step in new school building projects. He pointed out that last Wednesday marked 6,069 days since the BOE made the decision and started the planning for the new athletic facility projects and the new BOE offices. He noted that the BOE had new classroom facilities built as the first priority. He thanked all the past and current BOE members, past school superintendents and current superintendent, coaches and staff, and public for their support of the projects.
Chamber President Heather Green again commended the community for the BOE offices project. Dr. Dixon said school officials’ next charge is to maintain the new facilities. “They will remain first class,” he vowed.
The event concluded with the second ribbon cutting ceremony, an open house, and refreshments.
Dr. Dixon said that in spring 2023, the school system plans to have more ribbon cuttings for the new track facility and baseball field, when those sports’ seasons are getting underway. He noted the area next to the new softball and baseball fields where a new band practice field with a shelter for water breaks will be constructed.