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WAPAKONETA — Fittingly a child’s voice narrates two videos showed during Saturday’s dedications of Wapakoneta schools’ two new elementary school buildings.
One video showed the story of groundbreakings held two years ago; the “story of a new future.” The other showed that the future had arrived, with photos of completed buildings and smiling children.
“Before you, you see our future,” school board member Ron Mertz said during the Wapakoneta Elementary School dedication. “This is for our children, who are our future.”
The 113,000-square-foot building brings Northridge and Centennial schools together. Earlier in the day, the district dedicated the new Cridersville Elementary School. Also housing kindergarten through fourth-grade pupils, the building is 59,000 square feet.
The two new elementary schools are part of a $67 million district building project. The project also includes renovations to the middle school and adding onto the high school, including a 709-seat auditorium.
The two elementary school buildings include gymnasiums, interactive whiteboards, voice amplification systems and sinks/drinking fountains in each room, and geothermal heating and cooling. Technology upgrades are also seen in the middle and high schools.
“Providing them [pupils] with modern academic facilities housed with today’s educational equipment and technology serves as a positive environment conducive to learning in our world today,” said Eric McKinniss, board member and co-chair of the committee that worked to get the needed bond issue passed.
Voters supported the levy to pay the district’s $34 million share. The Ohio School Facilities Commission paid the rest. Dedication speakers repeatedly thanked the community for trusting the board and supporting education.
Wapakoneta third-grade teacher Chris Talowsky loves the technology and the enthusiasm she sees in her pupils.
“The kids are excited to come to school every day. The technology is fantastic,” she said. “The kids are just in awe of the gym and cafeteria. We are all getting used to it, but at the same time it is starting to really feel like home.”