The paint is dry, the desks are ready, and the lights are on. Shatekon Elementary is open for business.
About 550 students had their first day of class at Shenendehowa's eighth elementary school on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
A day before, district officials officially dedicated the school, which is adjacent to Arongen Elementary with an entrance on Maxwell Road off Route 146.
Construction on the $19.1 million project began in June of last year on land previously owned by the district.
The Shatekon Elementary School, with the word Shatekon, meaning 'a balanced life,' stands as a beacon light of hope and promise of an even brighter tomorrow for all of our children, Shenendehowa Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson said. "Five years from conceptualization to realization. That dream, that conceptual design, is now a reality."
The one-story, 24-classroom building is the first new school to be opened in the district since Arongen was opened in 1992.
The name Shatekon, an Iroquois Mohawk term, was chosen by students in an Internet vote, beating two other choices.
Dodge, Chamberlin, Luzine, Weber and Associates Architects have designed all of the Shenendehowa buildings. Marty Weber was Shatekon's head architect.
"It's continuing the tradition of Shenendehowa, which is to build solid masonry buildings that last for a long time," Weber said. "It reflects the contemporary design and aesthetic."
Weber said that the design was flexible because the district owned so much land and he was able to design the building free of many constraints.
"The fact that district has land allowed it to be a one story building, it also allowed for the gathering of different grade levels in different parts of the building," Weber said. "As you move from the cafeteria over, you have the youngest kids first and you move up all the way until you get to the upper grades that are closer to the gym."