Pickerington dedicates new schools
Pickerington Local Schools held building dedication ceremonies Oct. 11 to celebrate the opening of three new buildings: Sycamore Creek Elementary, Toll Gate Elementary and Toll Gate Middle schools.
After two years of construction made possible through the 2006 bond issue, the schools opened their doors for the first time Sept. 2.
During the ceremonies, Superintendent Karen Mantia said, "This is the future of our community, our state and our nation."
Mantia thanked numerous community members, including school board members and Senator Tim Schaffer in attendance at the dedication.
"It's all a team," Mantia said. "No one educates a child alone. This building represents a big piece of that."
Sycamore Elementary School Principal Sharon Caccimelio said the openings represent new beginnings for many.
"This school year will be a year of many firsts," she said.
The 86,695-square-foot Sycamore Creek facility, which will house grades Kindergarten through grade 4, cost $17 million for construction and furnishing.
The Toll Gate Elementary and Middle schools are 86,695 square feet and 101,867 square feet respectively, and were constructed and furnished at a total of $40 million.
Toll Gate Elementary will house Kindergarten through fourth-grade students and is expected to have an enrollment of 540 students this year.
Toll Gate Middle School currently only houses 5th- and 6th-grade students with a current enrollment of 510 students.
The state-of-the-art facilities include microphones for all teachers, laptop labs, new media centers, flat screen televisions and key cards for each student with an added security.
Caccimelio said the new building and technology is not what the ceremony was all about.
"It's the 660 boys and girls who enthusiastically attend here everyday," she said.
With support from the Ohio Schools Facility Commission, Pickerington Schools was able to fund the project to build the three new buildings. Students at Toll Gate Elementary and Middle School provided tours and spoke to what makes their school so special.
"Toll Gate is a wonderful new establishment in our community," 4th-grade student Sydnee Saska said.
Sixth-grade student Rachel Kronk said the great opportunities provided by the new school are "marvelous" and will give back to Pickerington in years to come.
Isabel Collinsworth, a 5th-grade student at Toll Gate Middle School, spoke with zeal about her new school facilities and how they help her learn better.
"Our school is beauteous," she said.
Toll Gate Middle School Principal Mark Jones said the kids kept mentioning staff as part of why the school was so special.
"The building won't change, but the faces will," he said.