LARKSVILLE – Corridors hummed with excitement Thursday evening as parents, children, community residents and school officials toured Wyoming Valley West School District's new State Street Elementary Center.
The two-story, 143,000-square-foot center is actually made up of two sections, one for the primary grades and the other for intermediate grades. The project included renovating the original State Street School building and adding additional wings, making the new center two and half times bigger than the original school.
Walking down the hallway of the primary section, which serves grades kindergarten through second, one small student pointed out patterns in the floor to his family.
This is the land, this is water and these are stones, he said.
Above his head, light fixtures in the shapes of clouds and a bright yellow sun finished out the scene.
The intermediate wing serves students in grades three through five. It is just as bright as the K-2 school and features blocks of color. Green, red and blue predominate, and colorful bulletin boards display student work.
Don Modrow teaches third-grade learning support. His is one of several flexible classrooms that can be divided in half.
My last classroom was a lot smaller, Modrow said.
Of the new school, he said, The kids love it. It's new and more friendly.
Paul Pritchard, 10, of Larksville, attended State Street School last year. He noticed that a lot of things were different this year.
The cafeteria is bigger and the gym is bigger, he said
He is looking forward to a playground, which is not yet completed.
Raymond Kaminski, 8, of Edwardsville, attended Main Street School in Plymouth last year. This year he is a third-grade student in the Intermediate Center. He said he liked the bigger building and the lockers. Each classroom has its own set of lockers.
Raymond's mother, Megan Murphy, was happy with her son's new campus. I appreciate the upgrades, the air conditioning and the security system at the new school, she said.
The two schools each have their own art room, music room and each school has two computer labs. The schools share a cafeteria, media center, gymnasium and administrative offices.
In the media center, or library, students were picking out new books at a Scholastic Book Fair held in a classroom separate from the main library. A distance learning lab is not yet complete but will add to the features of the media center.
Superintendent Charles Suppon said the bright colors were a reflection of school officials' goal for the building.
We wanted the children to be happy here, Suppon said.
He also underlined safety. He said that when the security system is complete and functioning, it will be superior to any school in the area.
The center has 54 traditional classrooms but has an additional eight classrooms that can be split down the middle and 10 smaller classrooms for small-group instruction.
The renovations and additions to the original State Street School were approved in the spring of 2010, construction began in August 2011 and the center was open in time for the beginning of the 2012 school year.
The nearly $28.5 million project will finish 2.5 to 3.5 percent under budget.
The project includes an elementary field house, which provides two locker rooms and restrooms for those using the soccer fields behind the center.
Technology in the building includes advanced security features, computer labs, interactive white boards and projectors in the classrooms.
The project was managed by A+E Group Inc. of Plains Township.
Source: Project engineer Jude Cooney of A+E Group Inc. Source: Project engineer Jude Cooney of A+E Group Inc.