On April 26, 2019, M.W. Bob Moninger, Grand Master of Masons in Nebraska, and the officers of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska had the honor of dedicating a cornerstone at the Omaha Central High School Arts and Library Addition. The Grand Lodge of Nebraska dedicated the original Central High School cornerstone in November, 1900. Albert Pike Lodge #333 served as the host Lodge.
The Grand Master was joined by Michelle Roberts, Executive Director of the Omaha Central High School Foundation, Dr. Ed Bennett, Principal of Central High School, Scott Carson, an operative stone Mason whose company Carson Stone and Supply engraved the limestone cornerstone (which came from the same quarry from which the original building was quarried), Chris Flott, project manager, Jim Torres, the architect from DLR Group, and a representative from Sampson Construction.
The $19 million addition was paid for entirely through donations, and adds much-needed space and resources to the Central High School. The current Central High was designed by architect John Latenser, Sr., the same architect who designed the Omaha Scottish Rite Masonic Center. The school was built in the French Renaissance Revival style, and the school was constructed in stages around the earlier school beginning in 1900-1902, and completed in 1912. The original school, built in 1871, was razed in 1911 and the final west wing of the new school was completed in 1912. Other updates over the years added a new gym, theater, and enclosed the central courtyard which was the site of the original school.
The Grand Master joined architect Jim Torres and Central High School Foundation Executive Director Michelle Roberts as they ceremoniously spread mortar on the cornerstone. Then, Deputy Grand Master R.W. Ron Stites, Grand Senior Warden R.W. Jim Carlton, and W. B. Kevin Scheele, standing in for the Grand Junior Warden, tested the cornerstone and declared it to be square, level and plumb. Grand Master Bob Moninger then declared the cornerstone to be “well formed, true and trusty, correctly proved and truly laid,” dedicated the building with the blessings of plenty, health, and peace with offerings of corn, wine, and oil. Grand Orator W.B. Mike Stuhr gave an oration which included the history of Central High School.
The Arts and Library Addition represents the first cornerstone laid this year by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, with another later this year in Columbus, Nebraska.