JERSEY SHORE - With less than a week until the school year is set to begin for the Jersey Shore Area School District, the community received a sneak peak of the Jersey Shore Elementary School Tuesday, as a the construction project progresses.
Students and parents were able to walk through the building and meet with teachers and administrators during the open house event. And while the classrooms are ready for the school year, there still are a few touch-ups that need to be completed before Sept. 3.
"A lot," was the simple answer Superintendent Richard Emery said for how much the school will change before the first day of classes.
An open house was held at Jersey Shore Elementary Tuesday evening for students and their parents to see their classrooms and learn where they can exit the building this year as renovations continue. Here, Kamdyn McCoy, 6, daughter of Megan Rogers, stands in front of the desk she will occupy on the first day of first grade.
"They have four more days of work," he said.
Principal Dr. Kenneth Dady explained that second- and third-grade classes will be housed near the current entrance. This only will be temporary, however, as those classes will move to the second level of the building in January. The section of building where those classes currently are then will begin the renovation process.
The kindergarten and first-grade classrooms will remain on the bottom floor of the building throughout the year, before being moved to their permanent home - where the second- and third-grade classes now are housed - next school year.
"We didn't want to move kindergarten and first grade throughout the year," Dady said.
The newly renovated classrooms offer a good working space for teachers and students, Dady said. They are equipped with technology that allows the teacher to control all of it throughout the classroom from their desk.
"The rooms are designed to be very technologically friendly and be very helpful," Dady said.
Technology in each room includes an interactive white board, a projector with speakers and six computers for students.
More storage also is a welcomed change for classrooms.
"There's a lot more storage in these rooms than they've ever had," Dady said.
Dady also reported this will be first time the building has been ADA compliant. Besides low sinks in each classroom, an elevator will be operating in January.
And as there was less time for staff members to prepare their spaces for the start of the school year, Emery said they've worked well together, which allowed things to run as smooth as it has.
"It's been amazing. I can't say enough of what the staff has done," Emery said. "They've worked together - custodians, maintenance, teachers, teacher aides. They've been amazing."
Stephanie Crist, a second-grade teacher, explained that second- and third-grade teachers helped the kindergarten and first-grade teachers organize their rooms since they were the first ones to gain access to classrooms. When it came time for the second- and third-grade teachers to move in, the favor was repaid.
"It was great," Crist said. "There were three to four people in a room (helping)."
When asked what she expects when it comes time to move her classroom in the middle of the school year, Crist said everyone will need to have patience throughout the process. But she added that it will be worth it in the end.
"It'll be some work, but it will be worth it," she said. "We will have a beautiful building."