October 22, 2014

Elyria
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New Keystone Middle School opens

LAGRANGE — Keystone buses lined the newly black-topped parking lot as middle school students had their faces plastered to the windows — eager with anticipation for a glimpse at their new school.

On Monday, Keystone Middle School Principal Tim Jenkins held a cup of coffee, smiled and opened the doors to the new middle school.

“Everybody is very excited, and the school looks great,” Jenkins said.

Students smiled as they walked to their lockers, and teachers were equally pleased.

Jenkins, who has been the middle school principal for 23 years, walked the halls after students arrived, making sure everyone knew where they were supposed to be when the bell rang.

“We had three mini-field trips on Friday when the kids were able to tour the building,” Jenkins said.

The tours seemed to help most students, but a few carried around maps, just in case.

According to Assistant Principal LeeAnn Petry, sixth-graders remain downstairs, eighth-grade classes are located mainly upstairs, and seventh-graders alternate between the two floors.

The instrumental, art and physical education classrooms also are on the first floor — in a separate wing from the traditional classes.

“It was a big move, but teamwork was really helpful,” Petry said. “Every inch of this building is being used.”

Petry said that many of the teachers were putting the finishing touches on their classrooms over the weekend.

Intervention specialist Jackie Daymut beamed as she stood before her class Monday.

“Everything went very smoothly this morning,” Daymut said.

Keystone Schools Superintendent Jay Arbaugh said it was rewarding to see the excitement on the kids’ faces.

“We’re ready to get to work and take advantage of all the resources we can offer,” Arbaugh said. “The completion of this middle school construction project marks the first step of keeping the promise we made to the community, and now we’ll continue to fulfill that promise by beginning the construction of a new K-5 elementary building, which will be completely funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.”

The middle school cost $11.7 million and was financed through bonds. The district plans to break ground for the new elementary school in the summer.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7155 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com.