“We are back in our home school,” Eric Floyd, principal at Lew Wallace Elementary School, said to cheers and clapping Monday morning.
Students, parents, and administrators gathered in the gym before class started. They weren’t just returning from spring break. They were back in their school after a year of renovations. They’ve been conducting class at Indianapolis Public School 87 during that time.
“It has been a long journey, but we are finally back in Lew Wallace territory,” Floyd said. “We can have our own space again.”
The student body congregated into the gym while “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang played over the new sound system. Three sixth-graders joined Floyd on stage and for a ceremonial ribbon cutting. They’ve been students at Lew Wallace since starting in kindergarten there.
“We have history before us,” Floyd said. “They’ve seen Lew Wallace change. They know what this school looked like before all the changes.”
A chorus of “yes” was heard when Floyd asked the assembly whether they liked the upgrades. In the gym it was more cosmetic — fresh paint and a new floor. The more prominent changes are in the classrooms.
An updated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system now allows for temperature control in every room. Each classroom is also equipped with a digital overhead projector, through which teachers can scan documents and project them on a white board.
“It’s much more interactive for our kids,” Floyd said.
There’s also a new media center where students will be able to produce an in-house news show, and a computer lab — all of which provide these students more access to the latest technology than Lew Wallace has ever had.
“This is a school that’s moving from just paper and pencil to digital,” Floyd said. “That will get them used to this technology and decrease that digital divide.”
Other renovations include security improvements, a new roof, and a reconfigured bus and automobile drop-off and pick-up area. IPS is pursuing a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the building.
The community can see the facility for themselves during a public open house from 5 to 7 p.m. April 11.
Floyd said he doesn’t know how much the renovation cost, which is part of the school corporation’s comprehensive capital improvement project.
“I’m just glad they spent the money,” he said.