Meridian Elementary hosts open house
Meridian Elementary School in Mounds held an open house to showcase its new building on Thursday, Aug. 10.
The new facility is located directly behind the junior/senior high school.
Five years ago, the elementary building was condemned because of mold.
For two years, the schools had to do a split schedule to be able to accommodate elementary, junior high and high school students.
School superintendent Spencer Byrd said the district secured an Illinois Capital Development Board grant which paid for 80 percent of the total cost of the project.
The remaining cost was paid by the district through bonds. The cost of the project was just under $8 million.
For the last three years, elementary students have been taught out of modular buildings that stood beside the junior/senior high school.
Most of the modulars have already been removed, with the exception of two. District offices will be located in the remaining modulars.
Construction on the new elementary building began two years ago. The architectural firm for the project was Baysinger Architects of Marion. The general contractor was Evrard-Strang Construction of Marion.
The estimated construction time was one year, but the state budget situation pushed it back by a year.
“We’re extremely happy to finally see the day and experience normalcy,” Byrd said.
The building offers classrooms for pre-kindergarten through 5th grades.
It also features a room solely for use as a computer lab and a gym.
Byrd said each classroom has state of the art technology including a sound system and SMART boards.
“Getting back to normalcy will get us back to student achievement,” Byrd said.
Many members of the community came to the open house.
State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, also came to the open house.
“It felt imperative to be here. I wanted to see it. I’m happy for the students,” Fowler said.
“When you have a community with a nice school, it boosts morale.”
The first day of school was Monday, Aug. 14.