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WO Parmer unveils new building at open house

It’s lacking a lawn. Otherwise, the new addition to W.O. Parmer Elementary School is ship-shape and ready for the approaching school year.

Faculty, staff and members of the community got to see the new building, part of what BOE president Joe Lisenby called “an unprecedented period of (school) construction projects in the county,” during an open house on Sunday afternoon. 12 kindergarten classes will be housed in the building.

County Commission Chair Jesse McWilliams called the new construction a huge benefit for the community.

“Our economic outlook may be bleak right now, but when prospective businesses see what we are doing in our school system . . . that creates a selling point in our county,” McWilliams said.

WOP principal Catherine Sawicki said it had been fascinating to watch the construction project over the past year.

“It’s been a long-awaited and much-needed process . . . the learning going on here will help all of us,” Sawicki said.

Guests said they were impressed with the traditional “little red schoolhouse” found inside the front entrance, along with hi-tech additions to all classrooms, including computer labs and flat-screen TVs. New offices, a nurse’s station, conference room, and a spacious cafetorium, featuring a permanent stage with lighting and sound system, are all part of the new building.

Kindergarten teacher Jean Bauer described herself as “overwhelmed and excited” to be in the new facility.

“To have everything new, clean, and featuring the latest technology in my classroom, is wonderful,” Bauer said. “I love the use of bright colors throughout the building; it’s so inviting in its appearance.”

She admitted it was a bittersweet transition as well.

“The old ‘Tiny Tot’ building where I taught is also where I went to school,” she said. “So, yes, there are a lot of memories.”

Betty Foster, a school volunteer and substitute teacher for 38 years, described the new building as “awesome” and said the idea of working with youngsters in the facility was “just heavenly.”