Ribbon-cutting completes new Franklin Elementary

Sunday, October 21, 2012
Malissa Beecham uses a Promethean board during a lesson on making change in her fourth grade class Friday, October 19, at Franklin Elementary School. The new school is the only one in the district to have the interactive display boards. (ADAM VOGLER)

Cape Girardeau School District and city officials marked completion of the largest single project under the district's voter-approved school-improvement plan Friday with a ribbon cutting at the new Franklin Elementary School.

The improvements are the result of a voter-approved bond issue passed in 2010 that provided $40 million in funding, and at $10 million the new Franklin Elementary building was the costliest project in the district's improvement project.

In addition to Franklin's new building, Cape Girardeau Central Junior High students have a new 8,300-square-foot library that opened this fall. Cape Central High School has gained 22 additional classrooms and work continues on a new performing arts center.

Identified by the district several years ago as most in need of renovations, further inspections of Franklin led to plans for completely new construction. Work on the new school building had been in progress over portions of the last two years. The old structure, built in 1927, was demolished in August.

Dr. James Welker, superintendent of the district, told students they have a fantastic new facility.

"This building is a tribute to the commitment we have made to you, and a tribute to our own community," Welker said. "On behalf of the Cape Girardeau public schools, I want to thank the community for voting to fund the new facility."

Franklin Elementary, with an enrollment of about 350 students in classes that range from kindergarten to fourth grade, now stands on the old school's playground at Themis and Louisiana streets. The first floor of the building houses kindergarten and first-grade classrooms, and the second floor holds the second-, third- and fourth-grade classrooms. There are enough classrooms to hold fifth graders should the district ever decide to shift some from Central Middle School.

Assistant superintendent Neil Glass said the facility turned out better than expected.

"A beautiful vision has become a reality," Glass said. "We challenged the architects to put forth a plan that would incorporate things from the old school into the new one. Obviously, the gymnasium built in 1999 was something we wanted to keep and part of the facade from the old school's entrance now stands in the new library. The cupola on the roof of the old school, sadly, was too old to be moved, but the company that designed it decades ago still had the original plans. They were able to make a replica and it looks great on the roof of the new facility."

Stacy Kinder, school board president, said she understand that some people will miss the old structure.

"I know some people were sad to see the old building gone," Kinder said, "but we can all appreciate this wonderful new place of learning. It's the envy of the region."

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

215 N. Louisiana St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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