Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - A groundbreaking was held Tuesday morning for the new Kemps Landing Old Donation School in Virginia Beach.
The project combines the current gifted elementary school, Old Donation Center, with the gifted middle school, Kemps Landing Magnet.
"We’ve had two great programs for our gifted children. We are actually bringing them together which will provide some efficiencies and savings," Virginia Beach School Board Chairman Dan Edwards told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo.
The program draws students from all corners of Virginia Beach.
"We’ve got 310 square miles and the kids come from all over the city," Edwards explained.
The new $63 million school is being built on the site of the former ODC on Ferry Plantation Road near Independence Blvd.
Until it is ready in the Fall of 2017, Kemps Landing Old Donation School will be housed in the former Princess Anne Middle School off Seaboard Road.
The former Kemps Landing Magnet building on Jericho Road has been turned into the 6th grade campus of Bayside Middle.
Getting new buildings for the school division's gifted programs has long been talked about in Virginia Beach.
One plan called for Kemps Landing to be housed within Virginia Beach Middle School when it was rebuilt at the Oceanfront.
That plan was later abandoned in favor of combing Kemps Landing with Old Donation Center.
"The naysayers say we kept kicking the can down the road, but honestly we felt it was important to hold back and make sure we were doing the right things for everybody," Edwards stated.
As bulldozers begin their work preparing for the new Kemps Landing Old Donation School, the shell of the former Old Donation Center stood in the background.
On its walls, the last students to take classes scribbled messages like "best year ever."
The groundbreaking had extra significance for new Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence.
He and his brothers attended the school as children.
"It’s a little strange to see it like this. It brings back some fond memories but at the same time it’s a little nostalgic to see the building coming down," Dr. Spence told Corillo.
The combined Kemps Landing Old Donation School will serve gifted students grades 2-8.