Mayor David Bowers (center), School Superintendent Rita Bishop (to his left) and other dignitaries cut the ribbon^
Photos, story by DAN SMITH
A large, appreciative crowd showed up in the late summer sun to give the new $57 million, 295,000 square feet William Fleming High School its sendup. The new school replaces the old William Fleming High (named for a Revolutionary War figure), which was built in 1960. Members of the first three classes of that school attended.
The building was designed by Rife + Wood Architects (Richard Rife and George Assaid) of Roanoke and the general contractor was J.M. Turner (whose owner is a former school board member.
Rife + Wood also designed Fleming's sister school, Patrick Henry High on the south side of town. Fleming is on the north side. Fleming's accompanying football field is expected to be completed in time for next season.
Mayor David Bowers and various other dignitaries, including Doris Ennis, former principal who has been appointed "Administrator on Assignment" (serving as interim principal until a scandal involving Fleming's current principal, is settled) were in attendance. They included most of Roanoke City Council, U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Virginia Sen. John Edwards, Virginia Del. Onzlee Ware and various members of the current and past school boards. Also in the audience was former Roanoke City Councilman Alfred Dowe, a Fleming graduate, who ran afowl of the law and resigned from the council.
Perhaps stealing the show was a polished senior spokesman who wound up the ceremonies--almost as an afterthought, leaping onto the stage after the ribbon had been cut and the crowd was ready to tour. Her short speech was so appealingly delivered and so upbeat that the crowd stayed put and applauded enthusiastically as she finished.