Construction underway at Seymour High School

The recent groundbreaking ceremony for construction at Seymour High School has been years in the making.

“I have been part of the central office administration team for six years, and we have been working toward this project, along with our school board, for all six years,” Superintendent Brandon Harpe said during Wednesday’s event. “We also appreciate past school boards and administrations over the years for making decisions that helped us get to this point today.”

Harpe said they decided to have the groundbreaking pictures at Seymour High School because the goal for all 5,221 students in the district is to walk across the stage and receive their diploma.

“The work at Seymour High School is only part of the overall project,” he said. “We also have work ongoing at the sixth grade center as we move toward opening our intermediate building in 2023.”

Harpe said work also is ongoing at the Seymour Ag-Science Research Farm in Freeman Field as the corporation continues to add programs and pathways for students and help provide skilled labor in the community.

The more than $52 million project, which addresses safety, growth and expanded programming, has been tax neutral for stakeholders.

“The gathering here today is ceremonial in nature, as we will take quite a few pictures to commemorate this construction,” Harpe said. “Once we get to the point of opening these buildings, we hope that you will join us again for our grand opening celebration and tours of the facilities.”

Harpe said more information on the grand opening will be announced near the end of the project.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Talmadge Reasoner said with the multiple photograph groupings during the ceremony, the most important ones included the students.

“We have a representative from each of the elementary schools, the middle school, a couple from the sixth grade center and several from the high school,” Reasoner said. “Our thought was eventually, all of the students are going to be coming through Seymour High School.”

He said they have started on Phase 1 at the high school, which will include the addition of a new main entrance, nine new classrooms and a large group instruction room.

“Also, we’ll have new restrooms, a new bus lobby and bus dropoff/pickup lane and a new cafeteria with an outdoor seating area,” Reasoner said. “Also, the main administrative office will be remodeled and expanded to house all administrative and student service personnel in one administrative suite.”

The reasoning is so in Phase 2, the current student services area can be remodeled for the new band and choir room, along with the new entrance foyer to the existing auditorium.

He said Phase 1 is set to be completed in stages throughout the remainder of 2022 and 2023. Phases 2, 3 and 4 are set to be completed by August 2024.

Corporation officials plan to keep the public updated on its three major construction projects.

At the beginning of 2021, the corporation uploaded information to its website that allows community members to view the architectural renderings and floor plans for the expansion and renovations of the three school facilities. Those plans may be viewed at

Harpe said once they start building, they’re going to try to post pictures on the website, too.

Student ambassadors taking part in last Wednesday’s ceremony were Cortland Elementary School third-grader Madilyn Schleibaum; Margaret R. Brown Elementary School third-grader Alex Gomez; Emerson Elementary School fifth-grader Preston Edmond; Seymour-Jackson Elementary School fourth-grader Reace Norman; Seymour-Redding Elementary School fifth-grader Eli Ortiz; Seymour Middle School Sixth Grade Center students Aiden Ault and Gabriela Eldridge-Rodriguez; and Seymour Middle School seventh-grader Bryan Jaime.

Student ambassadors representing Seymour High School were seniors, John Polbito and Jerson Pacheco, juniors Treyton McCormick and Alexia Rieckers, sophomore Sam Baker and freshmen Greer Henry and Ashley Roblero.

School board President Art Juergens closed the ceremony with a few words, thanking VPS Architecture, Skillman Corp., Harpe, the administrators, teachers, students, faculty and all of those who have played a part in setting the project in motion.

“This is going to be for you, and we’ve looked at this for a long time, and this is a very proud day because many of the students are going to benefit from this for a very long time,” he said. “To help create a progressive school, our board has done a lot in the past 10 years basically to improve the facilities for the students. I think for anyone on the school board, that has to be your No. 1 priority.”