A historic Middletown school building is getting a $57.1 million makeover.
The Louis L. Redding Building, part of Appoquinimink School District and named after the first Black practicing lawyer in Delaware, will have a new home in two years.
District and government officials on Tuesday broke ground on the new building, which will be right in front of the current Louis L. Redding Middle School, on New Street. Students will not need to relocate during construction.
Construction will begin this summer, with the new school ready to open in fall 2025.
Michelle Wall, the district school board president, said the new building will carry on the legacy of everything that the school and its namesake stood for.
Originally built in 1953, the school was desegregated in 1969.
Sen. Stephanie Hansen, D-Middletown, said at Tuesday’s ceremony that the building is more than a school. Rather, she said, it’s a landmark that represents the history of Middletown.
The new building will offer better access and safety to car and bus drivers.
On Dec. 14, 2021, district voters approved a referendum that called for no tax increase by a vote count of 3,004 yes to 111 no – a 96% margin of approval.
For more than a decade, the district has been asking the state to support the renovation and expansion of Louis L. Redding Middle School.
During that time, the district has been saving money to fund the local side of this equation – a 24% share that equates to $13,675,300 – using developer impact fees and growth in property taxes associated with new home construction.
The state is funding the remaining 76%, or $43,305,100, of the project.
“This gives us the exciting opportunity to provide Redding students and teachers with the learning facility they deserve, to replace temporary trailers with real classrooms and bring equity to our school facilities – without raising taxes,” a district statement said.
Rep. Sherae’a Moore, D-Middletown, said she hopes the building will be a community hub and sends the message that the state believes in the children of Middletown.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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