The first new school construction in the Bethlehem School District in 50 years broke ground Tuesday, May 22, at the future site of Eagle Elementary School.
The new school was named by students in a districtwide vote last fall, and dirt from the district's five other elementary schools was shoveled from separate buckets into the ground of the new Eagle school.
I think this is a place where people can make friends and students can have fun and learn, said Glenmont first-grader Terri Skinkle.
The $7.4 million dollar project is part of the district's overall $93 million bond that included several classroom additions at the high school and upgrades to all district buildings.
"It's a continuing project to provide education," said board member Warren Stoker, who taught for 30 years in Bethlehem schools. Until last week's groundbreaking, Stoker said, he has never witnessed a new school being built in Bethlehem.
"All I have seen is additions," said Stoker.
The school is being built to reduce classroom size in the other elementary schools that, until this year, have seen a two-decade-long increase in enrollment.
When completed, Eagle Elementary will add the positions of principal, secretary, school nurse, librarian and custodians. Several teachers from the five existing elementary schools will be redistributed to Eagle when construction is complete by September of 2008.
"We will be gaining space in the other schools and reducing room sharing," said Superintendent Les Loomis.
Collins-Scoville architects designed the new school and SanoRubin construction will oversee construction. The school will accommodate up to 450 students with 16 new classrooms and an average class size of 22 students per class.
"We plan on having the structure up by the end of the year so we can work inside the building during the winter and spring," said Rudley Lewis, SanoRubin construction manager.