The year 2016 was one of growth for the city of Melissa. It was the planning year for many projects, from the groundbreaking of a new sports complex to finalizing plans for a new high school.

Last year Melissa voters approved a bond referendum for $150 million to go toward addressing growth in the Melissa Independent School District by building and updating facilities.

“It’s exciting and it’s nice to see our community support our kids,” Melissa ISD Superintendent Keith Murphy said.

Plans for a new high school and elementary school were drawn up. Renderings of the future high school were released to the public along with three construction phases that will take place and an architect was hired to begin planning the future elementary school.

The city and the ISD joined forces to start construction on the Melissa Sports Complex, with a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of phase 1, which will consist of a practice field, two competition baseball fields with stadium type seating, a concession stand and restroom, bullpen, and competition soccer fields.

The Melissa Rotary Club presented the Melissa City Council with a check for $15,000 for a future veteran’s monument at the City Hall Plaza, and a city Christmas tree was erected in front of City Hall for the first time.

Two new principals joined Melissa ISD.

“Team is very important to Melissa Schools,” Executive Director of Academic Leadership Kim Boedeker said. “Our desire to be Team Melissa influences every decision. Adding Melissa High School Principal Kenneth Wooten and Harry McKillop Elementary Principal Walter Perez were two very important decisions to build our team.”

The school district also partnered with Trane, a heating and air conditioning business to provide high school students with access to career and technical education certifications. Superintendent Murphy said starting this August students will be able to take classes through Trane to become certified in heating and air conditioning.

“It’s really an exciting time in 2017 to see us financially come together as a district and to see some of our facility planning start to pay off,” Murphy said.

The Melissa Public Library hosted it’s most successful summer reading program ever, Lorelei Perkins, the librarian, said.

“We had over 800 kids register to start,” she said. “And almost 200 of them finished their 700 minutes of reading.”

Another milestone was reached as the library gave out its 10,000th library card.

The utilities department launched a partnership with FATHOM, a contractor that allows water customers to go online and see their water usage hourly, daily, weekly and monthly. The city also completed replacing and retrofitting existing water meters. The new meters now work with the Aclara Star Network AMI System, an initiative to update aging equipment and improve water conservation.

Three City Council members vacated their seat, Sharon Weideman of place 2, Jason Kaiser of place 4 and Julie Anderson of place 1.

Taking their places are Chad Taylor, Jay Northcut and Stacy Jackson. A special election had to be held in August because Julie Anderson vacated her seat early due to moving outside the city limits.

The football team finished the season as bi-district champions, Athletic Director Seth Stinton said. They made it all the way to the area round of the playoffs before being defeated by Argyle High School, the regional finalist.

In track, two students qualified for state. Gunnar Murphy placed seventh in shot at state, and Tom Whitson placed sixth in the 100 meter at state. Whitson also became the first boy to medal at state with his third place finish in the 200 meter.