“It’s amazing!” That’s what we heard one new Fairmount Park Elementary student exclaim while walking the school’s halls after this afternoon’s standing-room-only ribboncutting event celebrating the school’s expansion and reopening after a seven-year closure. You might have gotten a sense of that amazement, checking out some of the features shown in our walkthrough story earlier today. But it’s the school’s community – with more than 380 students expected tomorrow, 40 or so above the most-recent estimate we had – that is most astounding. Principal Julie Breidenbach pointed out it was a leap of faith for many families who already had started their children’s elementary years elsewhere, and that it’s more than double what the district expected the school to re-start with:
She was joined onstage by dignitaries including the district’s new acting Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland, and West Seattle’s School Board rep Marty McLaren:
Even West Seattle’s highest-ranking elected official, King County Executive Dow Constantine, was there, and he shared reminiscences including his memories of some involvement with Fairmount Park’s first phase of life, as well as some thoughts as a new dad who’ll be taking his daughter to her first day of school in a few years.
So much work has gone into “breathing life into the new building,” pointed out interim PTA president Hillary Shaw:
Those weren’t even all the speeches – but we have to get to the main event: The ribboncutting itself, which came after words of acknowledgment from principal Breidenbach and district construction-projects manager Jeanette Imanishi.
The event even had dessert – ice cream, served in the cafeteria/auditorium – and then it was off to look around:
Students and families got to meet teachers, too:
All the while, finishing touches were continuing – we spotted this worker painting lines on the north playground:
Tomorrow morning, it’s the real deal – time for school, again, at Fairmount Park. (And remember, that also means a school speed zone on Fauntleroy Way for the first time since 2007.) P.S. Other schools have changes too, including bell times, and we’ll be looking at those in a story later tonight.