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Waco ISD Breaks Ground on New Waco High School

WACO, TX- The groundbreaking ceremony held today for the new Waco High School paves the way for more than two years of planning to become a reality.  The new campus is made possible by the voter approved 2021 Bond Program. The $355 million-dollar bond will be used to replace Waco High, G.W. Carver Middle, Tennyson Middle and Kendrick Elementary with new schools built in the same locations and to renovate South Waco Elementary.

The Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the new Waco High, approved by the school board in September 2022, sets the stage for construction to be completed in one phase, within budget for a total cost of $140,500,000. At 350,000 square feet, the new campus will be large enough to accommodate 2,150 students. The campus is set to open in time for the 2025-2026 school year and will reflect the community’s vision for welcoming, collaborative, safe educational spaces that support students' learning.

Waco High School was originally located at 8th Street and Columbus Avenue in downtown Waco. In 1986, Waco High School was consolidated with Jefferson-Moore High School, and Richfield High School which was named due to its location on the former Rich Field, a World War I airfield.

Special care was taken by the school board to preserve the values and traditions of the three schools when they merged.  They agreed to take one thing from each school. The lion mascot originated from Jefferson-Moore, the school colors (scarlet and gray) derived from the Richfield campus, and the name “Waco High” hailed from the historic Waco High School. 

That same thoughtful consideration has been given to the new Waco High as the district focuses on preserving the past, commemorating the present and looking toward the future. Waco ISD Board President Stephanie Korteweg shared this sentiment in her remarks stating, “We are a city of champions. There has been a deep legacy and foundation that has been laid in this city and community.” 

Waco High student Kevin Redmond, who holds the title of senior class president delivered inspiring remarks, sharing how Waco High School helped him overcome troubles in his younger years.  Speaking from experience, Redmond stated, “The new Waco High will be a place where purpose is discovered.” 

Approximately 250 current Waco High students, staff, area elected officials, school district administrators and alumni from Richfield, Jefferson-Moore, and Waco high schools were in attendance.

This included special guest speaker, Hilton H. Howell Jr., a 1980 Richfield alumnus, who reminded guests that investing in students now helps to build them up and prepare them for a successful future. Howell, the Chairman & CEO of national media giant Gray Television, Inc., spoke of his time in Waco, his classmates and his love of the community.

Before inviting school board members and other guests to join in the ceremonial turning of the dirt, Dr. Susan Kincannon, Waco ISD Superintendent, celebrated the rich history of Waco High. “Breaking ground on the new Waco High School is the latest but certainly not the last chapter in a story of a community coming together to do big things,” said Kincannon. “When we come together, we can literally build the future.”