Jacobsen Middle School hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday as construction is slated to begin on its sixth-grade classroom building project.

Interim Tehachapi Unified School District Superintendent Paul Kaminski was joined by other dignitaries who spoke briefly on the significance of the project and all the hard work that went into it.

About five years ago during a committee meeting, a consultant asked Kaminski, who was the JMS principal at the time, if he had a dream for the school if cost was not a factor. Kaminski pointed to the area located to the west of the campus and said, "I would like to see a new building here for our sixth-graders."

According to Kaminski, the project was approved but stalled when former Superintendent Lisa Gilbert resigned; however, it was "brought back to life last year."

The sixth-grade center will be a place specifically for that grade level, separate from the seventh- and eighth-grade students.

The architect for the project, Robert Trost, of Ordiz Melby Architects, explained what the modular building manufactured off-site and transported to the school will feature, including:

• A 13,175-square-foot, 10-classroom structure of welded steel tube frames with infill wood and metal stud walls and a wood roof structure;

• Plaster on the exterior walls to match existing buildings;

• Aluminum framed and operable windows for natural ventilation and egress in case of emergency;

• Hollow, metal doors/frames for security;

• Carpeted floors, vinyl-covered, tackable walls and suspended, acoustical ceilings;

• Markerboards in the classrooms and a touch screen monitor; and

• Cooling and heating mechanical systems and LED light fixtures.

In addition, the building will have a connecting corridor for circulation, student and staff accessible restrooms, staff work areas and support rooms for building systems.

City Manager Greg Garrett, a guest speaker at the ceremony, said he and his children are products of the public education system.

"If we don't continue to invest in our public education system, we will fail," Garrett said.

Board of Trustees Vice President Jeff Kermode took to the podium and said he was really proud of the veteran board members.

"The purpose of the board is for us to do the best we can for our students with the resources we have, and today's a great example of that," Kermode said.

Construction is anticipated to take approximately seven to eight months, and is to be completed for the opening of the 2019-20 school year.

"We are thrilled to be part of this new building project," said JMS Principal Sharon Heitman. "It is with great anticipation that we have all been awaiting this groundbreaking day."

Members of Boy Scout Troop 3 were on hand to present the colors prior to the ceremony, and the Jacobsen Middle School band and choir performed the national anthem.