West Ottawa Schools Hold Groundbreaking Ceremony for Performing Arts Center

TWP PARK. — Ottawa West Public Schools held a groundbreaking ceremony for their latest major construction project on Monday, May 16.

Although work began on the site in the fall, WOPS held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new performing arts center. District administration, school board members, teachers and students took part in the event to celebrate the future installation.

The new PAC will connect to the Ottawa West High School North Campus off of Butternut Drive. It will be the district’s second PAC, with the current center of the college campus on 136th Avenue.

“We are really excited about the opportunities this will provide for students in Ottawa West,” said WOPS Superintendent Tim Bearden. Bearden thanked the GMB Project Architects and GDK Construction Managers for their work in bringing the project to life.

Left to right: West Ottawa board members Lynn Rutan, Mary Remenschneider, Kate McCoy, Cathy Lebster, Randy Schipper and Superintendent Tim Bearden open the school's new performing arts center on Monday May 16, 2022, at West Ottawa High School North Campus.

School Board President Cathy Lebster credited the community for their support that made the new PAC possible.

“Obviously we want to thank the western Ottawa community for the support and investment in our children,” said Lebster. “I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but one of the greatest things about Ottawa West is that there really is something for everyone. The performing arts and music are certainly a big part of that something.

“It’s really an exciting time. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we really want to thank the community.

Board members Darrin Duistermars, Lynn Rutan, Mary Remenschneider and Kate McCoy throw dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Performing Arts Center Monday, May 16, 2022, at North Campus from West Ottawa High School.

Mike Hamann, Director of WO Music Department, and Joe Huber, Director of WO Theater, both paid tribute to a group of senior students who were also in attendance. Educators said that without their work to put on great shows, there would be no support for new facilities.

“I also want to publicly thank our students,” Hamaan said. “I keep telling them that if you hadn’t worked day in and day out as students here and performed at such a high level… who would have voted for something so grand if they hadn’t seen the commitment of the students? ”

Seniors from West Ottawa High School join in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school's new Performing Arts Center on Monday, May 16, 2022, at West Ottawa High School's North Campus.

The PAC project is part of the $98 million bond campaign passed in 2019, which also includes the new athletic stadium and the new Riley Farms Elementary, which will begin work on the site this summer.

Bids for the project, totaling $25.8 million, were approved in June 2021. The building is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2023-24 school year.

— Contact journalist Mitchell Boatman at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @SentinelMitch.