Students at two Glades elementary schools will be returning to brand new schools on Aug. 17. After years of sharing campuses with other elementary schools, construction is finally complete on Rosenwald and Glade View elementary schools.
The community was welcomed to tour the new schools on July 30, with school board members Marcia Andrews and Frank Barbieri, as well as the new superintendent Robert Avossa, joining in on the tours.
The new school year will be a sort of homecoming for students and staff at these two schools, who have shared campuses with Pioneer Park and Gove elementary schools for the past few years.
On Tuesday, Rosenwald Principal Dionne Napier was all smiles as she brought The Sun on an tour of her new school, located on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard in South Bay.
Pulling into the parking lot, the school is striking in the bright July sun. Entering the main office, the sun rays follow you through the doors and permeate the room through broad-paned windows. Everything shines.
Principal Napier helped choose the color schemes and furniture for every part of the school, but insists that this is the students’ school.
“Everything is brand new. Brand new school, brand new furniture, brand new technology. I’m just going to let the kids walk through the whole school on the first day. It’s their school,” she said.
Every part of the old Rosenwald building except for the cafeteria was torn down and rebuilt. A beautiful administration suite greets parents and guests; a large hallway alight with brilliant hanging lights houses the guidance suite and leads students and teachers to their classrooms, which are located in one grand hallway.
Each classroom boasts four computers, a built-in desk for teachers, built-in cubbies, bookshelves and a large storage closet. For every two classrooms there are boys and girls bathrooms.
The cafeteria, though not newly built, has undergone renovations, including a new paint job, new floors, a built-in sound system and a brand new food service line reminiscent of a swanky hotel with continental breakfast.
Principal Napier’s pride and joy is the Media Room, which she designed to look and feel like Barnes and Noble.
Catering to all grade levels, low bookshelves and seating are available for kindergartners, while the “techy” side of the center appeals to the older kids working on laptops and iPads. The floor-to-ceiling windows have built-in bench seating, perfect for curling up with a favorite book.
In the corner of the room, dozens of boxes hold Rosenwald’s library books that have been in storage since construction began three years ago. Soon they will line the shelves, waiting to be picked up once again by a hungry kid.
Rosenwald, like other new construction schools, is a green school. The lights turn on automatically when someone enters a classroom and shut off when the last person leaves. The temperature changes depending on how many bodies are in the room, and large windows let as much natural light into the building as possible.
Across from the guidance suite, the inner workings of the school are on display through a large, glass pane window. A flatscreen TV outside the window shows a digital map of the school and highlights its “green” aspects.
Though she is thankful for Pioneer Park and its gracious hospitality for the past three years, she is excited for her teachers and staff to once again have their own space.
This year’s fourth and fifth graders were kindergartners and first graders at the old school and she is convinced they will be most excited to see their brand new school. She is also hoping to get the community more involved with her school now that they are back on the South Bay campus.
Summing up her visible feelings of joy and anticipation, Principal Napier said, “I can’t wait for the first day of school.”