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New TES addition will be open for school

Staff Writer

July 13, 2000 10 PM

The first school bell is more than three weeks away, but activity hasn’t stopped over summer vacation.

Each of the Troy City School System’s three campuses have been buzzing with activity – even without students.

Changes are visibly obvious at Troy Elementary School with the completion of the early childhood center, which will house kindergarten when school starts on Aug. 4.

Superintendent Hank Jones said the classroom building was completed last week and teachers have been busy moving.

"We think it will provide a great learning environment," Jones said.

The new kindergarten building was constructed on 60 acres of land the school system already owned. It has two wings with 12 classrooms, a small media center, administrative area and cafeteria.

Jones said the $1.463 million project began in the fall of 1999 as an effort to meet the student-teacher ratio set by the State Department of Education and to avoid purchasing portable classrooms.

The student-teacher ratio is 18-1 for kindergarten through third grade and 26-1 for grades four and five.

Although the current elementary school building is designed for the addition of six more classrooms, Jones said that was not enough.

"We didn’t have enough classroom space for the number of teachers we have," Jones said. "We had four teachers who were working out of smaller rooms and were sharing classrooms with other teachers."

Susan Berry has spent the past couple of days getting her kindergarten classroom ready for students.

The 32-year teaching veteran is excited about starting the 2000-2001 year in a new classroom building and said her room is "fantastic."

She should know because she’s taught in all types of conditions.

While in Montgomery, Berry taught 5 and 6-year-olds in an old home converted into a school. In the winter, it was so cold they students and teachers had to wear gloves.

Berry has also taught in a closet converted to a classroom.

"This is far from the broom closet," Berry said.

Now, she’s in a building especially for children ­ with small water fountains and pint-sized toilets.

What makes her classroom even more special is it was the first.

"This is the room where everything started ­ the first stake," Berry said. "This is wonderful."

Construction of the building was made possible in part by a $900,000 state bond issue and a leveraged bond issue of $1.2 million for capital outlay expenses for schools. Less than half of the leveraged bond issue will be used to pay on the bond issue and about $500,000 is being used for construction at TES and roofing projects at the high school.

In addition to the new pitched metal roofs on three buildings, Charles Henderson High School will get air conditioning in the gym.

The middle school will get new air conditioning units, Jones said.