Take a Video Tour of Wyalusing’s New Elementary School
School at A Glance
Cost: $27.5 Million, includes building, new sewer system for entire campus, bus loop and roadway construction and district’s share of Route 2010 reconstruction
Construction Time: 18 months
Students: Approximately 800, grades K-6 by the start of school
Staff: 80, including teachers and support staff
Building Size: 130,000 sq. ft., two floors
By David Keeler
Here’s an opportunity to be among the first people to view Wyalusing’s new consolidated elementary school, thanks to a video tour offered by Principal Joseph Darrow last Thursday. When you're ready, just click on the photo above to begin your tour.
Darrow is the perfect tour guide. He’s been involved with the elementary consolidation project from the start, and he knows the spacious new school from top to bottom. “We’ll be ready for students on Sept. 1 as planned,” Darrow says, adding that rumors that the opening would be delayed are unfounded. “The cafeteria will be functioning, the classrooms will be ready and all aspects of normal everyday education will be functioning.”
Our tour begins in the new office facility at the front of the building, where as of last week staff members were at work setting up the office.
Next, Darrow takes us to Stacy Fusco’s first grade classroom, where boxes of books and other items fill the floor. “Teachers will be in on Aug. 1 to start setting up their classroom,” Darrow said.
Electricians and other workers are still evident in the school, but the bulk of the construction work is completed. A final inspection is set for Aug. 10 when a certificate of occupation will be issued, providing the building meets requirements.
Our next stop is at one of the school’s four activity centers, which Darrow describes as a community space where all the students in an entire grade level can be assembled. The space is empty now, but it will soon have tables and chairs and the tables will be on wheels so the space can be easily reconfigured.
Grades K-3 are located on the ground level floor, where administrative offices, the cafeteria and gymnasium are also located. On the lower level are grades 4-6, the library, computer lab and art room, which has its own kiln. An elevator for use by handicapped students connects the two floors. Color coded floor tiles help students find their way through the building.
The new building is loaded with state-of-the-art features. Motion sensors control lighting, so when you walk down a hallway the lights come on automatically. Students will have use of hundreds of computers. If you haven’t been inside a school in a few years, you might be surprised to see that there are no blackboards in Wyalusing’s new school. Instead, the walls are covered with white, dry erase boards that are also magnetic, so teachers and students can display items by using a magnet to hold it to the board.
The new library is the next stop on our tour. Here, as with most other parts of the school, the library is filled with boxes of books to be unpacked. There’s shelf space in the library to accommodate just over 9,000 books. One of the unique features of the new library is an outside reading area that students can enjoy when weather permits.
Next stop is at the school’s spacious main lobby area at the front of the building where the nurses office and Bradford-Tioga Head Start classroom is located. You’ll also have a look at the school cafeteria where tables from all four of the former schools are being used. The cafeteria will serve students in three groups, the largest of which is grades K-2 that Darrow says consists of approximately 330 students. Grades 3-4 will include 240 students and grades 5-6 includes 220 students. The cafeteria also serves as a multipurpose room. A large stage covers an entire side of the room and will also serve as a classroom. “The stage has a large movable wall, which can be opened and closed,” Darrow explains. Bob Shumway and Brian Clinton can close the wall and conduct music classes while other students are having lunch in the cafeteria. Under the stage is a large storage area to accommodate wrestling mats.
Our final stop is at the school’s gymnasium, which Darrow explains features a full-size PIAA playing surface, with six basketball hoops that are adjustable to accommodate players of various ages. The gym is also set up for volleyball and has boys’ and girls’ locker rooms and a fitness center. “I don’t know too many elementary schools that have a facility like this,” Darrow said.
Our video tour of the new school is just a teaser of what you can expect at an upcoming open house on Monday, Aug. 22 when the public will have an opportunity to tour the new school starting at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and you don’t need an invitation to attend. “I want to see as much of the general public here as possible,” Darrow said. The school district is asking that those who plan to attend RSVP by calling 570-746-0402 or logging onto firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darrow’s obviously excited about seeing the building project nearing completion and the first day of school drawing near. One of the things he’s anticipating most is seeing the building filled with teachers and students. “I just can’t wait to hear what it will sound like,” he says. “Can you imagine this place filled with kids?”