by Lisa Tome
Charlestown Elementary's room 173 has become a dumping ground for items no one knows how to use right now.
But in the coming weeks, the stockpile in that room will be stashed or stored to make room for students. The enrollment at the school will grow from about 225 current students to about 400 for the new school year.
A major school renovation project will shut the doors of Perryville Elementary School to students and staff at the end of the current school year.
Approximately 381 students and staff from the school will be moved while that school undergoes a full building renovation.
The renovation will begin at the end of the current school year, in June 2014. Due to the scope of work in the $17 million project, the building will not be in use during the work.
As a result, students currently attending Perryville Elementary will now attend Bainbridge and Charlestown elementary schools, depending on where they live.
This process will be in place for the start of the 2014-15 school year. The plan is that the building will reopen to students in August 2016.
Charlestown principal Rose Clark is excited for a myriad of reasons. One of which is her excitement over the changes of Perryville. Clark began her Cecil County Public Schools teaching career at Perryville Elementary. She was also an administrator at that school.
Clark will also get something that Charlestown doesn't currently have - an assistant principal. There isn't one currently assigned to the school. "Many days, I feel like I have 12 assistants. People step up and I have tons of support," said Clark. But she will be glad for the extra help. "I'm excited about the process of renovating a school. And you have the excitement of blending a community that will be blended in middle and high school," said Clark. She was involved during renovations at North East Elementary when she worked at Elk Neck Elementary. She also dealt with renovation redistricting at Conowingo Elementary. "There are so many things you can do to make it a positive experience," said Clark. Both Bainbridge and Charlestown have hosted students twice for visitation. This week, Charlestown will also host a picnic to which Perryville families have been invited.
"I love puzzles and this is just a bigger puzzle to put together. Dismissal will be longer. Arrival will have more buses. But we are still performing similar daily functions," said Clark. She also said student size and number, faculty changes, parking for events and much more will be considered prior to the arrival of the students from Perryville in the fall.
All three of the elementary schools impacted for the renovation have gotten additional trash containers. Boxes have also been delivered and decisions will have to be made regarding what will be stored and what will be disposed. Staffing decisions won't likely be made until late June or early July.
"That is a monumental task. We'll really look at the materials we have. We're going to look at technology and see what we can bring here from Perryville," said Clark. "We look at the students first. Now we're looking at staff, instructional resources, technology and equipment."
A freezer now sits in the school cafeteria in preparation for the new year. "We may move from a serving kitchen to a preparation kitchen," she said. "This is challenging and it will keep our summer interesting. There's a new twist everyday."
But Clark is enthusiastic and excited.
"Schools are schools and kids are kids. They are going to be excited whether they are from Charlestown or Perryville. We'll focus on our school work. But we'll also keep an eye on the (renovation) project," she added.
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