By: Tammy Curtis, Managing Editor
As students ended their summer break and headed back to school on Aug. 15, they were greeted by a building that has been transformed. Cherokee Elementary School received the largest face lift. The small school that had little change since opening in 1966.
If one didn’t know, they would think they were walking through the doors of a new school. Funding for the project was approved a few years ago in 2020 when voters agreed to extend existing five mills. The district was able to sell bonds and generated the money to finance.
Superintendent Jeremy Lewis, said the district has also been able to utilize some Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund. (ESSER) that came out during Covid. Some of the projects qualified under the fund, allowing the district to save some money.
“Our board has really set the direction, with construction cost assistance,” he explained. Besides the massive new covered canopy out front that serves as an entry way to the school that is complete, other projects will be completed during the 22-23 school year.
Visitors will also notice the cohesiveness of the remodel to best represent not only a clean and streamlined appearance, but also one that reflects on the school colors. Besides the new entry at the school, Cherokee Elementary also received new energy efficient windows, a new roof and siding on the outside. On the inside, the campus is still undergoing a complete new cafeteria. The expansion will move the stage to the south end and create a new kitchen to better accommodate the workspace needed. It is set to be completed this fall. Currently, students are utilizing the original cafeteria. Lewis explained when the transition to thenew cafeteria begins, a new entry will be opened to allow access with no downtime for the school. The inside has all been repainted and new flooring installed.
Other projects the district is undergoing include the construction of a food storage building that is located behind the middle school campus. Lewis said this will house a large freezer to store food used in the kitchens and provide better access to its contents for all campuses. At the Middle School the district is also currently expanding their cafeteria. New heating and air condition unit was installed in the Middle School gym.
Other than the structural changes to the campuses, there are a few minor changes in student handbooks. “The principals presented handbook changes that were approved. We are excited for them to be back on campus. We are also excited about the projects we have been able to do and expansions we have been able make,” Lewis said.