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Middletown Transcript
  • Townsend Elementary renovation project nearly complete

  • A $6 million renovation project at Townsend Elementary School will be wrapping up in the coming weeks, virtually guaranteeing students will be able to return to the building in the fall, according to district officials.
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  • A $6 million renovation project at Townsend Elementary School will be wrapping up in the coming weeks, virtually guaranteeing students will be able to return to the building in the fall, according to district officials.
    “We’ve heard some rumors are going around that the building won’t be open next year so I would like to assure everyone that is not the case,” Appoquinimink School District Superintendent Matthew Burrows said. “The building absolutely will be re-opened in August and I think parents, students and teachers will be proud of difference that these renovations have made.”
    Townsend Elementary has been closed since the end of the 2011-2012 school year, when work on the extensive renovation project first began.
    What was initially expected to be a one-year closure was extended into a second year last March, when the Appoquinimink school board voted to keep the school shuttered until the start of the 2014-2015 school year in a cost-saving move that followed the defeat of its initial referendum the previous month.
    Townsend Elementary students – along with the school’s teachers and staff – have been attending Old State Elementary about four miles away.
    Once Townsend Elementary reopens, those students will return to their home school, which in turn will allow roughly 100 students currently attending Cedar Lane Elementary to be transferred to Old State Elementary.
    “We’ve been planning to adjust our feeder pattern for a couple of years to give some relief to Cedar Lane Elementary, which is expected to see rising enrollment due to new homes being built in the Bayberry and Whitehall developments,” Burrows said. “Children in the St. Anne’s community off of Levels Road also will be attending Townsend Elementary School next fall to give similar relief to Bunker Hill Elementary.”
    In the meantime, the district is in the process of putting the finishing touches on the renovations at Townsend Elementary School.
    The 51,000-square-foot school – parts of which date back to 1932 – now features new floors, ceilings and furniture throughout the building, as well as a remodeled library, cafeteria and administrative offices.
    New interactive smartboards and additional technology have been added to every classroom, a climbing wall has been added to the gymnasium, a handicap-accessible lift has been installed outside the music room, a stairwell previously prone to flooding in heavy rainstorms has been shored up and a new roof has been installed on a section of the school that was built in 1990.
    Meanwhile, new security-card access doors have been added to the building’s entrances.
    “It’s a tremendous transformation that brings the district’s oldest elementary school up to par with its newest schools,” said Bob Hershey, the facilities supervisor for the Appoquinimink School District. “The only thing we couldn’t change was the physical parameters of the building, which has been added onto several times over the decades.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Don Davis, who is currently serving as co-principal at Old State Elementary, will take over the helm of Townsend Elementary once the building reopens in the fall.
    “My only experience with the old building was as the parent of a student who attended first and second grade at Townsend,” he said. “But the teachers and I got a chance to tour the building last month and everyone I spoke with told me how excited they are by the changes. I think they’re really beyond what everyone was expecting.”
    District officials are currently in the process of scheduling a public open house of the newly-renovated building once the work is finally complete. A virtual tour also is expected to be added to the district’s website later this month.
    “I’d say the project is 99.9 percent complete now and would have been finished already if not for all this snow,” Hershey said. “As it is, all we have left to do is finish the sidewalk and the handicap-accessible ramps in front of the building, so with any luck we should be all the way there come April.”

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