Future Redland Middle School students were present at Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the school that will be built on donated land in the Redland community.

The 111,052-square-foot school will be built on a 50-acre site that was donated by county resident and local developer Rodney Griffith.

“I'm just proud to be able to donate the land and to help the community,” Griffith said. “And to make a wonderful place for our kids."

Elmore County Public Schools superintendent Richard Dennis said the project wouldn’t have happened as quickly and as effectively as it did if it weren’t for Griffith.

“This is a prime piece of real estate in Elmore County,” Dennis said. “It’s incredible what he’s done to help us. Thank you so much for your contribution to Elmore County Public Schools.”

The school, designed by Goodwyn. Mills and Cawood, will cost a total of $26.6 million and will include 32 classrooms, three storm shelters, a gym with lockers, a weight room, a food court-like cafeteria, a media center and several multipurpose classrooms.

Freddie Lynn, with GMC, said the school was designed with future expansions in mind. If needed, the school will be able to double in size. Plans for the school also include spaces for future softball, baseball and football fields.

Site grading, which is under way at a cost of $1.4 million by Rodney Griffith Excavating LLC, is expected to wrap up in December. It will take an estimated two years to build the school. The school is set to open at the beginning of the 2022 school year.

Board of education member Leisa Finley said there are no words to adequately describe how excited the school board is to see this project get started. Finley, who has a background in economic development, said that having economic vitality and a good community start with having a good education system.

"It's not just brick and mortar, although that's very important because we need those and we need the teachers who will teach our students,” Finley said, “but always keep in mind that our schools are made up of those students that make a difference in our community and are the future of our community."

The event marked Elmore County Board of Education’s third groundbreaking ceremony in three weeks. Ceremonies were previously held for projects in progress at Elmore County Technical Center and Stanhope Elmore.