And the ribbon is cut at Arbor Heights! Genesee Hill dedication one hour away pic.twitter.com/7WF4Mw6NL2
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) September 6, 2016
The just-concluded dedication ceremony at Arbor Heights Elementary celebrated a day that twice came close to never happening. Mentioned many times during the pre-ribbon-cutting speeches was the fact that the school community had to fight to get the rebuild – and then had to fight to get the schedule moved up in the BEX IV levy so that students could get out of deteriorating conditions as soon as possible. Not mentioned – the fact that just a few years before, during a contentious school-closing process, the Arbor Heights program was proposed for closure. That too was fought and now AH students are hours away from their first day in a $28 million building built for their eSTEM curriculum, as highlighted by principal Christy Collins:
The ceremony in the AHES Commons was attended by a crowd we estimated at more than 400 – here’s just part of it:
The ribbon-cutting was followed by tours – here are our photos from the recent media tour, including many of the elements that Collins mentioned. She was joined onstage and at the microphone during the ceremony by 34th District State Sen. Sharon Nelson, 11th District State Rep. Zach Hudgins, Seattle PTSA Council president Sebrena Burr, Schools First president Melissa Pailthorp, West Seattle/South Park School Board rep Leslie Harris, School Board president Betty Patu, and SPS Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland.
AHES is one of 5 new schools the district is dedicating, and the next one is in West Seattle too – Genesee Hill Elementary (1 pm)!
ADDED: Another view of the crowd in the commons, showing the bracing in the back, meant to be educational as well as safety-enhancing:
The big smiles during the ribbon cutting:
Pieces of the ribbon were offered to kids afterward – “Batman” got one:
Both kids and parents were helping the Arbor Heights PTA make the most of the big turnout, handing out cards touting the “4th Annual Direct Drive” fundraiser – one was offered to us as we walked down the sidewalk before even getting to the school, and the PTA had a table in the lobby:
It was a day for celebration and for gratitude – with principal Collins thanking many, including the neighbors who dealt with two years of construction, and the Louisa Boren K-8 STEM community whose Delridge building they shared the past two years (“wonderful hosts”). And now, as of Wednesday morning, Arbor Heights’ new future begins.