Construction is complete at the new Jasper Elementary School.
The $34 million facility welcomed students for the first time on Wednesday, August 12th.
The school features four pre-k rooms, six kindergarten rooms, a state of the art STEAM Lab, gymnasium, cafeteria with a stage, art and music rooms, a library, and 30 general rooms.
There are seven sessions in Kindergarten, and six sessions in all other grade levels.
Jasper Elementary School Principal, Kent Taylor, says the students are mesmerized.
“A lot of them say it’s big. They were also really excited about the prettiness of the building and the aesthetics. They’re kind of in awe of how big the cafeteria is,” he says.
Taylor says getting the building ready for students was a team effort. Teachers spent hours getting their classrooms ready throughout the summer.
Each room is filled with something different. Teachers are equipped with a new diversibords in every room. The library is full of over 2,500 books.
The STEAM Lab has two 3-D printers and virtual reality goggles. All rooms have a speaker system to make sure students with hearing disabilities can understand the teacher. There’s even a special room with a green screen to make announcements.
Cafeteria staff members spent the summer preparing the kitchen for the school year.
Over 800 students are fed in less than two hours every day.
If a student eats something a fellow classmate may be allergic to, they can wash their hands in sinks inside the cafeteria.
After lunch, students head outside for a 45-minute recess.
To keep all students included and active, school officials ut pa “glider” in the playground. This gives students in wheelchairs the chance to interact and play with their peers.
Teachers can even take their classes outside for a lesson. Classrooms share courtyards with grass, concrete, and a shaded area.
To make the day easier for teachers, each wing has a workroom. Instead of going to the front office to print and make copies, teachers swipe their badges and can print directly from their room.
But opening the doors to the new facility was not easy. Taylor says they had to overcome many obstacles.
“We’ve had some growing pains that we’ve overcome as a team, which I’m very proud of, ” he says.
One of these challenges was traffic during the morning drop off and dismissal.
After some headaches on the first day, Taylor says they implemented a process.
“We’ll give them a number and then they will come and report to that number’s parking spot. The child will go stand at that number,” Taylor says. “Instead of the cars waiting on the kids, the kids are waiting on the cars.”
But staff members weren’t the only ones who made the process successful right away. Taylor says he has to give some credit to their students.
“They’ve been a big part of the success of our dismissal process. The kids have taken a leadership role and make sure they’re in the right place at the right time waiting for their parents. So we have to tip our hats to the kids as well,” he says.
The new Jasper Elementary School is located right across the street from the Jasper Middle School on North Portersville Road.
To learn more about what the school has to offer, visit jes.gjcs.k12.in.us.