There are lots of new resources outside at Shawnee Middle School this year — things are looking considerably different on campus.

There are lots of new resources outside at Shawnee Middle School this year — things are looking considerably different on campus.

The public is invited to attend the long-awaited grand opening of the SMS Avedis Park, set from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday on the school's grounds at 4300 N. Union Ave.

Middle schoolers and area residents will gather to celebrate a ribbon-cutting ceremony signifying the official opening of newly-constructed spaces on campus.

The site now boasts brand new tennis courts just south of the school, as well as walking trails, basketball courts and an amphitheater to the west.

The event promises music and performances, as well as a mile-fun walk, basketball, tennis, frisbee golf, sack races and games and prizes.

The Healthy Hippo Food Truck and Kona Ice also will be onsite with their wares.

A $1.5 million Avedis grant helped the middle school with the many-faceted project — furnishing the school system and community with a nature learning center, walking trails, multi-purpose/tennis courts and sidewalks.

Michelle Briggs, Avedis Foundation President and CEO, said the project is a fitting example of the vision of Avedis, which is to improve the health, wellness and quality of life for the people of Pottawatomie County.

“What a fun day for Shawnee Middle School and the Shawnee Community,” Briggs said.

The grand opening of the Avedis Park furthers Avedis' vision, she said.

“What better way to do it than to build multi-purpose courts, trails –– that are open not only to the public, but also to our children, and we feel one of our best strategic investments is education at any level,” she said.

Briggs said the Avedis board of directors is proud of the partnership with Shawnee Middle School and the City of Shawnee in developing this park with its walking trails, multi-purpose courts and amphitheater.

“If we can plant some seeds early in life for healthy bodies and healthy minds, then we are all for it,” she said.

The City of Shawnee helped with the project, as well.

It provided, at no charge, engineering, bidding, contracting, and construction management for the sidewalk portion of the project, which extended the public sidewalk from the school south to MacArthur Street — creating an uninterrupted sidewalk along Union Street for 2.25 miles.