Community Turns Out to See Updated Red Cedar Elementary
Both the parking lot and the bike rack were filled to capacity for Monday’s community open house at Red Cedar school where area residents got a first look at renovations to the formerly vacant school building.
Above: a fifth grade classroom.
Teachers, students and curious neighbors wandered the halls peering into half-unpacked classrooms. According to Principal Lorraine Ware, the teacher’s first official day isn’t until next Monday, but with classes starting on Tuesday many teachers have chosen to come in on their own time to set up their classrooms.
Updates to the Red Cedar building include a new secure entrance off the rerouted circular drive where students can be dropped off by parents. The new front entry features a foyer with a bank of windows (above) looking into an office space which will house administrative staff and Principal Ware’s office. Visitors will have to be buzzed into the building by front desk staff. Classroom doors have also been fitted with a security system, a magnetic “hold open” system which will allow doors to automatically close and lock in the event of a school lock-down.
Additional improvements include all new plumbing, which features water fountains with bottle filling spouts (above). There is updated electrical infrastructure to accommodate classroom technology, smart boards and projectors that were repurposed from Glencairn Elementary.
Heating and cooling will be accomplished with a centrally controlled geothermal system and additional insulation has been added to the walls.
Unlike Glencairn where music classes had to share a space with the library, each of the “specials” has its own dedicated work space with the music and art rooms next door to each other, and the media and library area occupying the space where the office used to be. The building is laid out in an “O” formation with a central courtyard that can be accessed from inside the building.
Superintendent Dori Leyko explained that the improvements so far represent phase 1 of the renovation plans. Red Cedar school will be used as a “holding school” for both Glencairn and Pinecrest elementary schools as those schools are demolished and rebuilt.
It has yet to be decided whether Marble elementary school children will go to Red Cedar or Donley when it’s time for that school to be refurbished. Marble is closer to Donley but Leyko says they want to “see how it goes” with old Donley and new Donley operating on the same site before they decide whether to send Marble students there or to Red Cedar during the Marble renovations.
Once all the other schools have been rebuilt, phase 2 of the Red Cedar build out will continue and will be dictated primarily by how that school will eventually be used, which is not completely settled yet. Floor coverings and cabinets will both be part of phase two. According to an informational poster displayed during the open house, infrastructure and building improvements so far have cost $7.9 million.
One part of the building that has not been updated is the playground (above) which was relatively new when Red Cedar was decommissioned several years ago. On Wednesday night it was full of children and parents who were catching up after summer break and enjoying ice cream served by members of the Red Cedar Neighborhood association, which included current and former school board members.
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