Eastern Mennonite School moves K-5 to newly renovated building next door

Eastern Mennonite School students helping move supplies into new building for K-5. | Credit: WHSV
Eastern Mennonite School students helping move supplies into new building for K-5. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Dec. 6, 2019 at 5:38 PM EST
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Friday was moving day for Eastern Mennonite School. Grades K-5 are moving into their own, newly-renovated building next door.

"It's nice that we were able to use an older building that was very stable and strong and renovated for our use and just being right next door was just, it was like it was made for us," Maria Archer, Eastern Mennonite School principal for K-8, said.

Finding the right fit took some time.

"It's been 14 years of really not having a permanent home since we started in 2005," Archer said.

For the last year and half, students in Kindergarten through 12th grade have all been in one building and space was a possible concern.

"The middle and high school made space for us," Archer said. "People are sharing classrooms. People are having classrooms where they weren't before."

Even though the renovation of the old building beside the main school took a couple more months than expected, the staff saw the delay as a plus.

"A mid-year move in is actually really exciting because the whole student body is here," Michael Stoltzfus, Director of Business Affairs, said. "They can see the end of the project, we can have our faculty and staff involved."

On Friday, grades K-5 packed up all their supplies and moved everything into the new and improved building they can permanently call home.

A home with some exciting new additions and room for growth.

"More garden space outside and also we have plans for a future rooftop garden and we'll have solar panels and we have some spaces in this building where students can see the mechanical room," Archer said.

There is also enough room to extend the building to add more classrooms if needed.

Even though half of the student body will be a building over, the school said they are going to make sure the connections that were made, don't get lost.

"The six through 12 students would pass elementary students in the hall, they often give each other high fives as they're moving through the building," Stoltzfus said. "That's been really cool to see how are students can connect across grade levels and divisions."

Sixth through 12th graders will have classes as usual on Monday. Kindergarten through fifth grade will have a day off before starting classes in the new building on Tuesday.

Renovation of the newly vacant classrooms in the main building will begin before teachers move back into them.

The community will have the chance to check out the new building with an ribbon cutting and open house on January 28.