District gets $57 million DOD grant

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

As the News Review was going to press, Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office commended tthe Defense Department’s approval of $57,161,689 to replace Murray Middle School, now located at the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, and make improvements at Burroughs High School in Ridge-crest.

“Today’s announcement will help ensure that Sierra Sands Unified School District can continue to provide a world-class education to the children of the men and women who serve at and support China Lake in Ridgecrest,” said McCarthy. “Many of our families in Ridgecrest who work on the base do cutting-edge research in state-of-the-art facilities, yet their children may go to school in buildings from the 1940s or ’50s.

“As a parent, I know that teachers are critical to our children’s education, and ensuring students learn in updated facilities enhances our teachers’ ability to provide them a first-rate education.

“That is why as Majority Whip, I led my colleagues in passing two bills that provided these funds for Murray, Burroughs and other public schools on military installations. Strong schools are the foundation of our communities so that we can educate the next generation of leaders. Strengthening our schools increases opportunities for our students and quality of life for our families in Ridgecrest.”

“We are so grateful to the Department of Defense and our Navy partners at NAWS for this wonderful opportunity to enhance and improve our school facilities, and we thank Congressman McCarthy for his support and closely working with us on these projects,” said SSUSD Superintendent Joanna Rummer. “With these grants we will be able to offer our students broadened opportunities in a 21st- century setting. This is a chance for the district to do what it has long wanted to do for the students, the community, and all of its partners.”

Burroughs and Murray Principals David Ostash and Kirsti Smith said they are thilled at the opportunity for their students.

“This is a great opportunity to further progress into the future with new facilities to support our awesome programs,” said Board President Tim Johnson.

“This grant is well deserved and will be a true blessing,” said NAWS?Capt. Dennis Lazar. “As far as the Navy’s piece in this, we are providing the space and have been standing by to support SSUSD as much as possible throughout the grant request process.

“Their goals are our goals — we know the importance of what they do and we’re standing shoulder to shoulder with Sierra Sands to turn this grant opportunity into the best possible schools for our China Lake family.”

The grant is part of the $500 million in congressional funding approved in 2011 to “construct, renovate, repair or expand elementary and secondary public schools on military installations in order to address capacity or facility condition deficiencies at such schools.”

Details will be announced in next week’s News Review.

Story First Published: 2012-12-12