New School Year, New Richey Elementary

Parents can tour the campus before school starts.

Richey Elementary kindergartners will learn their ABCs and 123s in a brand-new school campus this year.

In fact, all Richey Elementary students will get to enjoy a shiny new campus when school starts in August.

Families won't have to wait for the first bell on Aug. 20 to see the changes either. They can get a sneak peek during Aug. 15's Meet-the-Teacher orientation day.

“I’m excited for the kids to see it and learn in it,” said Principal Ken Miesner.

The new $15.6 million campus is a reconstruction of the Richey Elementary. It has 40 classrooms in two connected two-story buildings with brick facades. It has a new media center, a new audiology lab and administration and nurses offices.

It also has a second-floor balcony hanging over the campus’ landscaped courtyard that Miesner can stand on and look out at his pupils.

The old Richey Elementary School campus was built roughly 54 years ago. Parts of it flooded. There are buildings, but some classes were held in portables.  It wasn’t modern, and teachers had to use extension cords for equipment, like slide projectors. Rooms echoed.

The old campus was spread out and had “gang bathrooms” that held more than one student. Kids had to make trips their with a buddy. On the new campus, classrooms are grouped in pods of four with four bathrooms in each pod.   

The new campus is built with today’s technology in mind. It has Smart Boards in addition to white boards and is adapted for other technology. It also has storage rooms for supplies.

In 2009, authorities did a study that showed that renovating the old campus would be more costly than building a new one. They made plans for the rebuild, and broke ground last summer.

The campus isn’t complete yet. This is just the first phase. The cafeteria isn’t done, and kids will eat in one of the pods. The cafeteria, playing fields, retention pond system and playground will be complete sometime in 2013.

“It’s just nice to have everything so self-contained,” Miesner said.

Editor's Note: The old campus will host AMIKids alternative school, which had its state contract terminated, for now.

Parents and students will be able to take a look around the new Richey Elementary during Meet-the-Teacher orientation Aug. 15 at the new campus at 6850 Adams St. The orientation runs from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m and 1 p.m.-3 p.m.

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