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By Jeffery S. Solochek, Times Staff Writer
Published February 15, 2008
[Keri Wiginton | Times]
WESLEY CHAPEL - Boxes, bins and bags of supplies lined the sidewalks that run between the portable classrooms of New River Elementary School, which has been sharing the campus of Sand Pine Elementary since August.
Classrooms were stripped of everything but desks, white boards and other bare necessities. Out back, workers loaded up trucks to haul all of the stuff away. One boy turned to principal Lynn Pabst on Thursday and asked, "Is New River having a garage sale?"
After spending a bit more than a semester squatting on Sand Pine's play field, New River was about to claim its own school building in the New River subdivision, just north of Meadow Pointe off State Road 54. To say that everyone was looking forward to Tuesday - the first class day in the new digs - would be a bit of an understatement.
"The school is phenomenal," teacher John Leidy said. "The new building is just exciting for the kids, exciting for us."
The school's staff has worked nights and weekends for the past three weeks to make the transition as seamless as possible. A tour of the two buildings that are ready for students revealed classrooms already decorated, with students' names already on tables.
"People have said we're further ahead than if we had worked all summer," Pabst said.
The school will remain a construction zone until the final two buildings are completed around spring break. And until Tuesday, workers and volunteers will continue to set up computer networks, phone systems and all the other things necessary to keep a school running.
"Deficiency lists" taped to walls around the school still had a handful of items to be resolved.
About a dozen media specialists from around the county came to New River on Thursday to help Pam Willoughby shelve and inventory the nearly 6,000 books she had chosen for the school.
"This is pretty cool," Willoughby said as she fingered some of the tomes, watching the volunteers load the stacks. "I'm excited about having the space to do things with our kids."
Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at email@example.com or 813 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.
New River Elementary School, 4710 River Glen Blvd., will give parents and students a sneak peek at the new school Monday. The event will begin with a brief PTA meeting at 6:15 p.m. in the media center, followed by classroom visits beginning at 6:30 p.m. The evening's theme is Leap into the New School, and activities will include a moonwalk and other things associated with leaping.
[Last modified February 14, 2008, 23:25:19]