WELLINGTON — “Bright,” “airy” and “positive” were words guests used while walking through the new McCormick Middle School in Wellington during the dedication and open house Sunday.
Throughout the day, Principal Craig Housum said there was a mixture between current families and former students popping in to get a peek at the new school. After all, the old McCormick school was nearly 150 years old, he said.
“The students were very excited on the first day, they were in awe,” Housum said. “They went from a 150-year-old building to this … it’s quite a big change.”
Superintendent Dennis Mock said there were a lot of “wide-eyes-open” Tuesday when the students first walked into the school.
“The brightness of building and the traffic flow is must better,” Mock said. “But, the focal point of the new building has been the library. The kids love it.”
Fifth-grader Heather Reininger sat in McCormick’s cafeteria, watching as other students showed their parents the new school. Heather, 10, admitted the first day at her school — Tuesday — was a bit confusing, but by the end of the day, she had her bearings and was ready to come back the next day.
“The teachers helped me the first day,” she said.
Contemplating her favorite room in the school, Heather answered quickly — the band room. The saxophone player was awestruck with the built-in storage for instruments as well as the leveled floor. In the past, she would have to walk up a few steps to find her spot within the band.
“I like that there are no more levels,” she said.
Band teacher Toni Novotny is more impressed with the acoustic tiles and carpet.
“Both help the sound inside the room,” Novotny said.
Novotny said the updated school has been a “long time coming” for not only the Wellington students, but for the community as well.
“This is a positive thing for the community,” she said. “It was a hassle moving, but in the end it was worth it, and the students wanted to help (move). Everything is new and clean. At the old school, it was cold in my room, so I would worry about the temperature (for the students) and wear a coat to teach. Now, I can focus more on the kids and not the problems.”
The open house event attracted former students, like Tina Krosse.
Krosse came to the event with her husband, Tim, and two children, Courtney, 6, and Nathan, 8. Tina Krosse attended the old McCormick school — just like her father, grandfather and grandmother — and she was excited to see the new school for the first time on Sunday.
“There is a lot of excitement from the community,” Tina Krosse said. “It’s a fresh start.
For her husband, Tim Krosse, the day was a bittersweet.
“I was looking forward to attending events where my wife (and her family) went to school at McCormick, but it will be nice to have a modern facility,” Tim Krosse said.
The Krosse children attend Westwood Elementary School, but Nathan Krosse will begin his middle school education next year at McCormick.
“I like the science labs,” Nathan Krosse said after catching a glimpse inside the rooms.
The district started construction on the 80,000-square-foot new school in August 2014. The new school houses students in grades four through eight. Plans are underway to demolish the former McCormick School on South Main Street and build a park in spring 2016.