West Chicago Middle School's 800 students gathered outside with their teachers Thursday to break ground for their school's expansion.
Eight student representatives wielded ceremonial shovels. Three students read poems. The student council president gave a speech.
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Afterward, there was a group photo taken from the roof and an ice cream social.
"It was fabulous," Superintendent Ed Leman said. "The kids were great."
West Chicago Elementary District 33 so far has borrowed $31.5 million for the project to expand and renovate the middle school. The work is expected to be finished for the start of the 2013-2014 school year, when sixth-graders will join the seventh- and eighth-graders at the school.
Students will be working on putting together a time capsule this year, but the school hasn't decided if it will be buried or just stored in the library.
A groundbreaking ceremony for community members was Thursday evening.