A new building for a new year
The start of school for some of Baldwin's third, fourth and fifth graders offered more than new classrooms with new teachers. It also offered a brand new school building.
Two hundred twenty-six upper elementary students started school Thursday in the new Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center, located on the west edge of Baldwin along U.S. Highway 56.
"We love it," BESIC Principal Tom Mundinger said of the new facilities. "This is just a neat opportunity to open a new school."
The new school houses Baldwin's third, fourth and fifth graders, while Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center, in the older elementary school on Chapel Street, is home to the kindergarten through second grade students.
Mundinger said the transition to the new building has been a smooth one.
"It's going great," he said. "The kids have been very excited about it and love it. The teachers were out here all summer getting the building ready. Now it's just tying up loose ends."
Construction on BESIC was completed in May, well before the original July 1 deadline.
"In my mind, I was thinking construction projects always run late," Mundinger said. "I was anticipating moving in only days before school started."
Instead, the school, along with the help of the students, was able to start moving in at the end of the school year. He said having the entire summer to get the school ready for occupancy helped make the start of school easier.
"It was a best-case scenario," he said. "We had all summer to get moved in and get situated. You couldn't have scripted it any better."
Mundinger said the school has already seen the benefits of having a smaller student population in the building.
"It's just much more personal," he said.
The bond issue was passed, he said, because there were 500 students when all of the elementary grades were combined in one building.
"Five hundred students in the elementary school was becoming too large," he said. "The idea was to make two smaller, more personalized schools."
Not only is BESIC a more intimate school, he said it's easier for faculty to communicate with one another, student supervision is easier and building security is better.
There will be a dedication and open house for BESIC from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14. Mundinger encouraged the public to visit the new school anytime.
"Lots of people are responsible for this. Lots of people supported it with their tax dollars," he said. "The community has been very, very supportive of education and this is one indication of that. It is very much appreciated."