New Griswold Elementary School on track to open in April

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Jewett City - posted Mon., Feb. 14, 2011
The new Griswold Elementary School building looms behind the soon-to-be-demolished older structure, built in the mid-1960s. Photo by Janice Steinhagen.
The new Griswold Elementary School building looms behind the soon-to-be-demolished older structure, built in the mid-1960s. Photo by Janice Steinhagen.

Students and faculty at Griswold Elementary School are torn between excitement and nostalgia, as work continues on the new elementary school building.

Students will walk through the doors of the new structure for the first time on Apr. 27, when they return from spring vacation, said GES principal Susan Rourke.

“The kids are very excited, but it’s funny. You wouldn’t know it,” Rourke said. She said that during her recent lunch with a group of second-graders, “they were vocalizing that they were going to miss the old building. But I told them, ‘You just wait. It’s going to be awesome.’”

Record snowfalls haven’t slowed construction, which began in December of 2009, after the move of fourth and fifth grade students to the middle school, said Rourke. Work crews are “actually ahead of schedule, which is not to say that there haven’t been issues. We’ve needed to plow and clear snow away.”

Once one wing of the old school had been demolished, construction on Phase 1 of the new school got underway. Plans call for the kindergarten through grade 3 students to move into the new structure in April. This year’s fourth-graders will run out the year at the middle school, but next year’s fourth-graders will be back at GES, Rourke said.

After the remaining part of the old structure is vacated, hazardous materials abatement and demolition will get underway in May, said building committee chairman Franklin Everett. That will make way for Phase 2 of the new school, which will include a gym, a cafetorium and the pre-k and kindergarten wing, he said.

“The new elementary school is basically in the footprint of the old school,” said Everett.

The project is slated for completion in summer 2012, he said. Of the new school’s $34 million cost, the town will receive 73.57 percent reimbursement from the state.

The new elementary school is part of a $70 million school renovation plan approved by voters at referendum in 2006, Everett said. The total project included renovation and expansion of the middle school, which is already completed.


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