Students at Park Terrace and Northpoint elementary schools had more than new teachers and classmates to anticipate this September: Construction brought new classrooms and at Park Terrace, an expanded parking lot and cafeteria, all finished in the nick of time for the opening of the new school.
Spurred by projections of skyrocketing enrollment, School District 16 made decisions in late 2012 to move the growing Spanish Immersion program from Westwood Intermediate School to Woodcrest Elementary School and expand the other two elementary schools for the start of the 2013-2014 academic year, with a price tag of $5.8 million.
“We knew we needed to do more than just move kids around,” said Amy Schultz, director of business services for the district.
According to Schultz, although six new classrooms were added to Northpoint this summer – three traditional, two center-based spaces and one specialist room – the school felt much the same when parents dropped off their children on the first day.
Park Terrace, on the other hand, has a completely new environment with many former Woodcrest students coming through the door, in addition to new and returning Park Terrace students. “With the student population going from 400 to 800, it’s going to feel different,” Schultz said.
Park Terrace has 10 new classrooms – eight traditional, one center-based space and one specialist room.
The parking lot has been reworked to separate the bus loading area from parent pick-up and drop-off sites for smoother traffic flow. Additionally, more parking spaces were created to serve a larger population of both visitors and staff.
A brand new kitchen within a larger cafeteria allows for an additional serving line at lunchtime. Two lines will speed up the process so that students have more time to eat and relax during their lunch hour, according to Amy Kimmel, nutrition services coordinator for the district.
“It’s all about the kids,” Kimmel said. “That’s our focus and that’s what we work towards every day.”
A new combi oven, part convection oven and part steam oven, will provide better quality food, as well as allow staff to keep up with the volume of children, many more than they are used to serving, she said.
The kitchen was unusable until a health inspector gave the OK. The inspector came last week, which meant that staff could not train with the new appliances or start storing food until days before school began.
With this delay, the school decided to serve bag lunches for the first week of school and will serve hot breakfasts and lunches beginning Sept. 9.
Olivia Koester is at [email protected]