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PERRY, Okla. (KFOR) – Perry Public Schools will celebrate American Education Week by breaking ground on a new junior high school and a new athletic center.

“They are going to be two distinct projects,” said Dr. Terry McCarty, Perry Public Schools superintendent. “They will happen to go together, but they will be two distinct projects that go under one roof, and that will play into the long-term vision of the future.”

American Education Week runs from Nov. 18-22, and millions of educators, parents, students and civic leaders will join the National Education Association to bring awareness to the critical need to provide every child with a quality public education, according to a Perry Public Schools news release.

The new facilities will replace the current Perry Junior High School building and John Divine Hall, where school athletic events are held.

“Both of these buildings are 60 to 70 years old and have a variety of issues. The buildings are totally outdated and need to be replaced badly,” McCarty said.

The groundbreaking will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 1303 N. 15th St., which is just south of the Perry Elementary School campus.

January 2022 is the planned completion date for the facility, according to McCarty.

Once the seventh and eighth-grade students move to the new building, the old junior high building will be torn down. However, John Divine Hall has historic significance to the Perry community, and will remain standing, McCarty said.

The new facilities are a significant step toward a long-term goal.

“Perry is kind of small, so the new facilities will be built about two miles from where we are now. And they will be built in the proximity of our current elementary schools,” McCarty said. “There’s a long-term vision to at some point have all of our facilities be in a certain geographic location.”

The total cost for the new facilities will be approximately $15 million, McCarty said.

The new facilities are funded by a bond that was passed in November 2018 and is a continuation of a previously established millage rate of 28-and-a-half to 29-and-a-half-mills.

“It will stay at this millage rate for the next 12 years. It just maintains the current level. That level was established several years ago when they had a bond measure,” McCarty said.