ASHLAND — Students and staff have already completed their transition from Ashland-Greenwood Elementary School into the district’s new primary school. But aside from students’ parents, the general public has not been privy to what’s inside.
On two days in early February, the new primary building will be open to the public for the first time.
“We’re just going to open up our doors and allow people to explore and walk around and check it out,” said Superintendent Jason Libal. “I think they’ll be thrilled with the product.”
The primary building is the first of two new buildings to be constructed in the Ashland-Greenwood school district as part of a $59.9 million bond issue that was passed by voters in 2020. The other building will be a new middle school — which will eventually house the district’s high school — that includes a community performing arts center.
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The primary building’s open house events will take place on Sunday, Feb. 5 from 2-4 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 9 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
“I hope people will join us for those open house nights,” Libal said. “We’re really excited to show off the building, and we’d love to have a strong turnout there.”
With grades PreK-2 moving to the primary building, grades three through five will remain in the three-story building on Boyd Street, which has been renamed Ashland-Greenwood Intermediate School.
Libal said the Ashland-Greenwood Public School Foundation has contributed $30,000 to pay for new furnishings throughout the intermediate school in order to create aesthetic consistency between the primary and intermediate buildings.
“We really want the older building to feel fresh and new as much as possible as well,” Libal said.
Other updates to the intermediate building have included using a newly vacant classroom as an expanded teachers’ lounge. A new mothers’ room — with which the primary building is equipped — was also fashioned out of an empty classroom at the intermediate building, Libal said. Open areas on each floor have been converted into breakout spaces for small group learning and instruction, as well.
Libal has said that full classroom reconfigurations will happen in the 2023-2024 school year.
Meanwhile, a renovation to the intermediate school’s north entrance may be on tap for this summer. Libal said the building is the district’s only without a secure front-door vestibule requiring guests to enter the building through the front office.
“At the middle school and high school, we have that setup, and certainly the primary and new middle school will be set up that way,” Libal said. “I think it’s important that we have that security at the intermediate school as well.”
In other district news, four longtime Ashland-Greenwood educators are calling it quits after this school year. Teresa Bray, who has served as the district’s elementary school principal for more than 30 years, is retiring, as are elementary music teacher Sharon Bebout and middle school/high school health and P.E. teacher Leisa Rogers.
“They’re just ready (for retirement),” Libal said. “So, we’re happy for them, but sad for us. We’ll be looking to fill those big shoes for all those positions.”
Colleen Lewin, who has taught at the elementary school for 15 years, will be leaving her post, too, as her family plans to move from Ashland.
At the Ashland-Greenwood Board of Education’s annual meeting on Jan. 16, the board elected Suzanne Sapp as the board president, Karen Stille as vice president and Russ Westerhold as the board’s secretary. New board member Kylie Heflin also took the oath of office at the meeting, as she takes the seat last held by Ally Miller.