7 individuals in hardhats shoveling dirt at new Wildcat Center Groundbreaking

Wildcat Center Groundbreaking Event Article


 “This building will shape the minds and future of many La Grande boys and girls. This building will also impact the future of La Grande as a community and La Grande School District.”

Those were words from Superintendent George Mendoza at the groundbreaking event for the new Wildcat Center on Tuesday, June 6th. The new facility will be located on the campus of La Grande Middle School.

About 25 district staff and community members, along with a large contingent of LMS students, were at the event to officially begin the project. Mendoza thanked members of the district’s Political Action Committee who worked hard to help pass the bond to make the Wildcat Center possible. He also thanked teachers, students, parents, city and county officials, LMS Principal Chris Wagner, Business Director Michelle Glover, Facilities Manager Joseph Waite and Mike Becker and Jarod Teeter from Mike Becker General Contractor, Inc. for their work.

Mendoza said when the district first started discussing improvements, their goals were to improve its aging facilities, expand the quality of education and athletic opportunities students receive and have a place to host school district and community events. He said he knows this building will accomplish that and much more and that teaching and learning, club sports and athletic events have a way of bringing people together.

LMS Principal Wagner had a similar message at the groundbreaking, stating the middle school is excited to get moving on the Wildcat Center’s construction. He said having a safe, inviting building will facilitate effective learning and healthy activities.

“On behalf of our district, our school, our staff and our students, I just want to say thank you to our community for investing in our kids and our futures.  I am never more proud of where we live than when I see our community show the support they have for what truly matters,” Wagner said.

 After the speeches, a small group donned hard hats and used golden shovels to move some dirt to officially start the project. The Wildcat Center will replace the Annex and maintenance building currently at LMS. The new, multi-purpose academic and athletic center will include:

  • Three multi-use sport courts
  • A softball/baseball indoor facility
  • Space for La Grande Middle School academic programs such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and Physical Education classes 

The Wildcat Center is being funded through the school district’s General Obligation bond passed by voters in May 2022. It will take approximately 15 months to complete the construction and it will be open for student use in August 2024.