“Amazing” was the word of the night Wednesday as students, parents and grandparents toured the new Buckeye Valley East Elementary building at 530 E. Main St. in Ashley.
“It’s amazing,” said Katie Karacson, Buckeye Valley East Elementary principal. “We’re lucky to have an amazing space for the kids to learn in and for the teachers to teach in. It was an intense experience but worth seeing the faces of the kids as they walked through the door.
“To the taxpayers, thank you,” she added.
Karacson wasn’t the only one bubbling over with excitement about the new building.
Abby Chrismer, Reading Recovery teacher, said she has worked in the Buckeye Valley Local School District for almost 13 years.
“I’ve spent most of my career at East — this is amazing,” she said.
Kristine Michael, the district’s director of academic achievement, said the kids now have the option of flexible seating in the classroom. She said if they feel like they have a case of the wiggles, they can choose a seat that has a rounded bottom that rocks.
“It strengthens the core,” Michael said. “There are standing desk if someone needs to stand for a while.”
The construction of East, which opened to students on Feb. 21, was accomplished by building in sections around the old existing building, causing staff and students to go through a few transitions.
“The staff has been incredibly flexible with all the transitions,” Michael said.
One of the biggest transitions was the loss of the cafeteria’s kitchen. Lou Bailey, head cook, said lunch was prepared at the middle school and trucked to the elementary. It was dropped off at the multipurpose building in the back of the school, where her team would get it ready for lunch.
Bailey said she loves the new kitchen where all the appliances are brand new.
“It’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s so nice to cook on new equipment.”
Bailey added her favorite thing is the hot and cold pass through to the lunch line.
“It’s really nice,” she said.
Emme “Wheelie” Wheeland, a student, walked around with her parents, showing them everything.
“I like it,” she said.
Wheeland shared her favorite part about the new building: “I like that the fifth graders are coming back.”
Karacson said the new school building is operational, but there are still some interior and exterior work that needs to be completed. She said some of the wings still have the old furniture, but to keep from disrupting the kids yet again, it would be moved in over the summer for the 2019-2020 school year.
Buckeye Valley West Elementary students were treated to a preview of their new building in December and began classes after Christmas break in January.
Construction of the two new schools was made possible by the passage of a $31.25 million bond issue approved by voters in November 2015. The issue passed by two votes after a recount by the Delaware County Board of Elections.
According to district officials, the budget for each building includes site development and the building of each with all systems and finishes. The projected cost for the BV East Elementary School is $11.6 million, and the school will serve 475 students. The projected cost for the BV West Elementary School was $13.6 million, and it serves 625 students.
Additional costs for both projects include architectural and engineering fees, construction manager fees, testing, agency approvals fees and legal costs. Those costs for BV East are projected to be $2 million. The additional costs for BV West are expected to be $2.3 million.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.