11/17/18 ABSS, Elon U celebrate construction, partnership that helped build new elementary school

Brand new and gleaming
Ken Grube, the regional vice president of Samet Corporation General Contractors, provides advice on wearing a hard hat to Elon Elementary fifth-graders Cohen Gresham, Ben Vincent, and Eamon Hipps at the “topping out” ceremony for the new elementary school located at 730 Walker Road. The students participated in the introduction of speakers, the Pledge of Allegiance, and signing the beam for the ceremony.

Robert Thomason / Times-News

Ken Grube, the regional vice president of Samet Corporation General Contractors, provides advice on wearing a hard hat to Elon Elementary fifth-graders Cohen Gresham, Ben Vincent, and Eamon Hipps at the “topping out” ceremony for the new elementary school located at 730 Walker Road. The students participated in the introduction of speakers, the Pledge of Allegiance, and signing the beam for the ceremony.

ABSS, Elon U celebrate construction, partnership that helped build new elementary school
By Jessica Williams, The Times-News 11/17/18     
Reprinted with permission.  

The main entrance canopy beam is set in place with messages and oak and magnolia branches at the “topping out” ceremony for the new Elon Elementary School at 730 Walker Road.  

The main entrance canopy beam is set in place with messages and oak and magnolia branches at the “topping out” ceremony for the new Elon Elementary School at 730 Walker Road.

 

ELON — In nine months, Elon Elementary School will be brand new.

Representatives from the Alamance-Burlington School System and Elon University took part in a “topping off” ceremony Friday, Nov. 16, at the site of the new school, 730 Walker Road, after the May groundbreaking celebration was canceled because of weather.

Come fall 2019, the nearly 800 students that attend Elon Elementary will move into a brand new facility modeled after George C. Simkins Jr. Elementary School in Greensboro.

Board of Education Chair Allison Gant — wrapped in one of the red and white scarves provided by Samet Corp. — expressed her gratitude for the partnership that made the project a reality.

“Without everyone working together, this wonderful gift of a new school would not be possible,” Gant said. “Not “Not only does it take a village to educate every child, it takes a village to create a public-private partnership to benefit the children. We are grateful. This public-private partnership is a win-win.”

Preliminary discussions between Elon University and ABSS over the swap began in early 2016. The school system would give the university the current school building — and, more important, the land it sits on — in return for a brand new elementary school to be built 1.5 miles away.

Elon Elementary’s currently facility opened in the early 1950s and was last renovated in 1989. Its tax value is about $7 million (the land value alone is roughly $1.5 million), and building a new elementary school would have cost ABSS $20 million, so the deal was a no-brainer.

The Alamance-Burlington Board of Education voted 6-0 in September 2017 to move forward with the trade, and construction began last spring.

Elon University President Connie Book on Friday touted the symbiotic relationship between the university and Alamance-Burlington

Schools, outlining some of the university programs that have benefited students at all grade levels over the years. But the university’s relationship with Elon Elementary has been especially close.

In 2016, Principal Jack Davern initiated a program between the school and Elon Dining in which students could visit an on-campus dining hall and learn about global foods by interviewing the chefs and then tasting the dishes.

Though the new school will be a little farther from campus (good news for traffic), Gant assured the crowd that the relationship will “continue to be a blessing.”

And for those concerned that the rich history and traditions of the current school will disappear with the building, Davern promised that the old Elon would blend with the new, allowing the school to cherish old memories while creating new ones.

The ceremony concluded with a beam signing led by Elon Elementary Student Council President Cohen Gresham, Vice President Eamon Hipps and Secretary Ben Vincent.

Staff had placed an oak branch from the university’s campus and a magnolia branch from the lawn of Elon Elementary atop the beam, signifying the long-standing connection that allowed both to take another important step forward.