GREENVILLE — The new Greenville Primary and Middle Schools opened today.
“This is a wonderful day,” Greenville School City School District (GCSD) Supt. Doug Fries said. “Everything, as far as the start, has gone very smoothly. I was very impressed with the community in the pick – up and drop – off of the students. The principals did an outstanding job of having a lot of manpower, with help from volunteers and the Parent Teachers Association.”
The long-awaited event brought big smiles to students, parents, teachers and administration members, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the school.
“It’s going to inspire people to learn,” District Treasurer Carla Surber said of the new building.
A two-day open house preceded the first day of classes, when parents and students were invited to tour the facility. Monday night was for fifth through eighth grades and Tuesday was kindergarten through fourth grades. Savannah Wilt, attended Greenville schools and was enthused about the new school that her third – grade son will attend.
“The new school is amazing!” she said. “I’ve been dying to see what it looks like. My husband and I drive by here all the time waiting for each new step in the construction process. It looks great. They have more study areas, more opportunity to work one-on-one with the teachers. That might help my son since he wants to be a scientist one day, and dig up the Titanic out of the ocean. That will be great for him! I wish it was this nice when I was in school.”
District Assistant Superintendent Laura Bemus said the kids are excited about their new school.
“We’ve had a great turnout and just really positive comments from all the families,” she said of the open house events. “It’s fun to see the kids come in and their eyes lighting up. They are just very excited about the new building and its furnishings.”
Moving in was a huge undertaking, that went smoothly, according to Greenville Primary Principal Kitty Davis.
“Actually, we were early getting into most of the buildings,” she said.
A driving force behind the composition and layout of the 21st century classroom, which the new school provides, is collaborative learning. A student-centered learning model where the teacher is a manager and facilitator – not solely a lecturer. Greenville’s new school classrooms are designed with this model in mind, beginning with the desks. Rectangular desktops can not create a close circle to allow groups of six or more students to engage in collaborative learning. Trapezoidal and arc-shaped desktops are clustered in very compact circles of six to eight students for group work. The desks can be separated for individual study or testing. The younger grades have triangular desktops for smaller circles.
Some of the school’s other amenities include wireless access; interactive whiteboards in all classrooms, a new cafeteria dishwasher system, electronic keys, adjustable basketball backboards systems in the gymnasium, open study areas and a Frequency Modulation (FM) system for each teacher. This advanced adaptive strategy instantly responds to changing noise levels, ensuring consistent speech recognition wherever a child is located.
“The sound is amplified for all learners, not just those children with special hearing needs,” Davis said. Amplifying the sound keeps them more focused and more attentive to the lesson that you are teaching.”
According to Bemus, all of the new technology and furnishings called for much training in every aspect of the building. Even the cafeteria.
“The checkout system to pay for lunches is electronic,” she said. “The administrators had training throughout the holiday break on the building and safety features. It is such a safe building and our community resource folks have helped so much, such as the Fire, Police and Sheriff departments. They have all been here and all helped with the move and the transition.”
In addition to assets that drive the functioning of the school, special time and attention were placed on aesthetics. District Director of Administrative and Pupil Personnel Services Andrea Townsend pointed out the presence of the school color and mascot throughout the building. The halls and floors are adorned with green accents, the entrance-way glows with welcoming green lights and waves are even a part of the cafeteria ceiling.
During this morning’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Board Vice-President Brad Gettinger said things are going well.
“Obviously a lot of years have gone into preparing for this,” he said. “Community administration had their plans to make sure the students knew where they were going. It looks like they executed well on that. I was here this morning and the students made it to class and we were able to get started on time. So far it’s been a great morning.”
Board President Fred Matix is very grateful.
“We have received very positive comments,” Matix said of the new school. “The administration, the faculty, everybody had had a big part in pulling this together. And all of our supervisors, from cafeteria to maintenance, everybody made this happen. The bottom line is, we don’t need to thank the administration or the board, we need to thank the taxpayers. They are the ones who have foot the bill. I hope they like what they see – this is a great thing for the community. I think this will give us a chance to better educate our young people.”
A Community Open-House and Dedication will take place at the new school on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium. The new school is located at 1111 N. Ohio Street.