DILLON — There are new schools in a Dillon County school district for the first time in about 40 years.

Dillon Middle School was dedicated Thursday to replace the J.V. Martin Junior High School, parts of which were more than 100 years old.

The $23 million school comes after 21 years of work, including a loan from the U.S. Agriculture Department pushed by President Obama and a decision by Dillon County residents to pay higher taxes.

Dillon District 4 officials say they had been unable to get funding for new schools because of the economy.

Obama and other Democratic candidates visited the school in 2007. He promised in his first congressional address in 2009 to replace the school, after J.V. Martin student Ty’Sheoma Bethea wrote a letter asking for help.