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Grant Elementary School breaks ground

School honors athletics pioneer Dr. Christine Grant of U of I
Dr. Christine Grant stands with future students of Grant Elementary at the groundbreaking ceremony for the future school on Tuesday, May 22, in North Liberty. The school, opening in the fall of 2019, was named after Dr. Grant for her national achievements in gender equality in athletics. (photo courtesy of the Iowa City Community School District)

NORTH LIBERTY– A local and national legacy was further solidified on Tuesday, May 22, at a groundbreaking ceremony held on the future site of Grant Elementary, in North Liberty. The school was named in honor of Dr. Christine Grant, who not only was in attendance but also participated in the groundbreaking itself.
Wielding ceremonial gold shovels, a handful of future Grant students, City of North Liberty officials, staff of the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) and Dr. Grant, among others, made the celebratory first digs into the ground North Liberty’s eagerly anticipated elementary school.
“This is the sixth school within our community boundaries. I think it really shows the growth and vitality of the community and the interest of the community as a whole,” Mayor Terry Donahue said to those in attendance.
It was a particularly emotional event for Iowa Women’s Basketball Head Coach Lisa Bluder. Currently in her 18th year as head women’s basketball coach at the University of Iowa and her 34th year overall, Bluder nominated Dr. Grant for the honor.“There’s no award that I have been given, or will be given, that means more to me than the naming of this school,” Dr. Grant told attendees of the ceremony.
The future school’s namesake is a revered pioneer of women’s athletics, not just in Eastern Iowa, but also on a national level. The Scottish-born teacher was an advocate for gender equality during the 1970s and was instrumental in crafting Title IX, federal civil rights legislation, signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972. A follow-up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX aimed to halt gender discrimination for those who participate in an educational program or activity receiving federal funding.
Grant was a founding member and president of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). She was also president of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators and was inducted into both the Hall of Fame of the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport and the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame.
“Her impact spreads far beyond our community and really expands the country as a whole,” remarked Superintendent Stephen Murley of the ICCSD.
From 1973 until her retirement in 2000, Dr. Grant was the one and only Women’s Athletic Director at the University of Iowa, before the men’s and women’s positions were merged.
The now 82-year-old retiree expressed, to attendees, the importance of the occasion and how humbling it is to be an integral part of.
“Education is the greatest gift that we can give to the next generations,” she said. “It’s difficult for me to convey to you how much I’m honored by this recognition.”
The 22nd elementary school in the ICCSD, Grant Elementary will open in the fall of 2019. Students from both Garner and Penn elementary will funnel into the institution expected to house about 500 students.
“By building that school up there, we’re going to be able to make sure that Grant, Penn and Garner are all right-sized given the population of students that’s up in the north corner right now, get kids out of portables and into buildings and be able to do so relatively quickly,” said Murley.