Paragould High School’s new facilities got a visit from the state’s senior United States Senator Thursday.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman visited the school’s new Junior ROTC, Agriscience and Band Buildings.

The visit was part of a swing through Northeast Arkansas, and Boozman took the opportunity afforded by the stop at Paragould to commemorate Teacher Appreciation Week.

“I want to thank you for the tremendous job you did during the pandemic,” he told the high school in a video address from the the Junior ROTC building. “One day everything was fine,” Boozman said, “and we were shut down. Not only our schools but the nation was shut down. Really, the world shut down.”

The senator acknowledged that not since World War II had the country faced such a major event. “We were facing two battles,” Boozman said, “the battle of the economy, when everybody has to go home, and businesses shut down. That’s a difficult situation. And then the other thing we were battling was the disease.”

Happily, he noted, things had returned to a semblance of normalcy. “But our schools are faced with a situation, literally in making decisions you’ve never had to make before,” he said. “And you stepped forward and did that in such a good way.”

Boozman acknowledged the support from state legislators and the community in keeping schools open. “It’s so, so very important,” he said, “for so, so many children. You are blessed. You’ve got such a great school system.”

Boozman also said he was impressed with how the state of Arkansas had done compared to other states, which he said are struggling. “For you to ‘suck it up’ and make decisions that have never had to be made before is just tremendous,” he said. “We appreciate your efforts.”

Boozman then toured the three new buildings. As previously reported, the Agriscience building totals 17,276 square feet. It includes an aquaculture lab, biological lab, animal science lab, agri mechanics lab, outdoor covered work area, and classroom space.

The Junior ROTC building totals 10,450 square feet, and includes a supply room, an ROTC lab, weight room, classrooms, and additional storage above the first level.

The Band building totals 23,946 square feet. It has two band rooms, a percussion room, practice rooms, a guard room, and several storage rooms for instruments and uniforms. The facility also has a large storage area above the first level.

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