Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017
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Education

Perrysburg opens new elementary school building to students

New $29 million facility will host more than 800 fifth, sixth graders

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    Robert Lothery, left, and his daughter, Kailey, 10, speak with Principal Scott Best during orientation at the new Hull Prairie Intermediate School in Perrysburg.

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    Iris Morris, 9, left, tests the new chairs while her brother, Elijah, and mother, Tiffany, walk down the hall behind her. The new school in will house fifth and sixth graders.

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    Ocean Clute, 17, and her brother, Gavin Harpel, 8, peek over the railing to check out the first floor during orientation at the new Hull Prairie Intermediate School in Perrysburg.

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    Students, teachers, and parents look around classroom 9.

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    David Hernandez, left, watches while his daughter Jaylin Hernandez, 10, right, decorates her locker.

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    Isaac Bermudez, 10, looks into his locker during orientation.

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    Orchestra teachers Betsy Cranston, left, or Patrick Barrett, right, go over lesson plans on their laptops in the teacher's planning room.

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    Julie Bermudez, left, and her son Isaac Bermudez, 10, center, speak with the STEM teacher Julia Whalen, right, during orientation.

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    English Language Arts teacher Susan Stout, left, speaks with incoming student Jake Salsbury, 10, right, and his mother Angie Hennan, center right, and sister Hailey Salsbury, center left, in her classroom.

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    Elijah Morris, 10, left, and his sister Iris Morris, 9, right, slide down the side of a bench.

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Isaac Bermudez was a bit nervous about starting school in a week at the new Hull Prairie Intermediate School, until he got inside the new space.

“I like it, it’s pretty big,” the 10-year-old fifth grade student said during his orientation day. “I’ll get the gist of where everything’s at.”

He will be part of the new intermediate school’s first class of fifth- and sixth-grade students, marking a shift to a new system for the rapidly growing district.

“What you’re seeing now is basically a culmination of four years of work by various people,” Hull Prairie Intermediate Principal Scott Best said. “Last year the construction process started and now we’re almost there.”

Construction is just about finished, with a few finishing touches both in and outside of the $29 million, 135,000-square-foot building left to complete.

Tuesday and Wednesday were the first time full groups of families could see their new school.

“It’s great having parents and kids coming into the building now after a year of the construction process,” Mr. Best said.

He has been heavily involved in the construction process, answering the detailed questions that came from the crews on the site.

“I was out here three, four, five times minimum a week,” he said. “It feels like my building. Everything is very personal here.”

Tiffany Morris just moved to the district a month ago, and brought her son, Elijah, to see his new school. She has some fears that parts of the building were still under construction, but is still excited for the year to begin.

“Its really nice,” she said. “It’s new and fresh and I think he’ll enjoy it.”

About 830 students are expected Aug. 17, when both grades come together for their first full school day. About 75 percent of those students are in band, orchestra, or choir.

“Its the first time fifth grade has had the opportunity for band or choir,” Joel Hamilton, a Perrysburg choir teacher, said. He will be teaching at both the new intermediate school and at Perrysburg Junior High School.

Hull Prairie Intermediate has individual rooms set aside for the performing arts classes, which Mr. Best said gives the district more scheduling flexibility and the ability to share music teachers across two schools.

“The rooms will pay for themselves in three years,” he said.

The fifth grade students starting at Hull Prairie are the first to leave elementary school after fourth grade. That made Julie Bermudez, Isaac’s mom, a bit wary.

“I’m nervous,” she said. “It’s a little overwhelming. I probably will worry until the day I drop him off and I’ll still be worried.”

But the size does not intimidate Isaac.

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “If there’s a bigger school, and more students, I can make more friends.”

Contact Zack Lemon at zlemon@theblade.com419-724-6282 or on Twitter @zack_lemon.

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