Northwood Elementary School in Edgewood holds many memories for Melanie Helle.
The Northwood principal was once a kindergartener at the school.
“I was here from kindergarten all the way through sixth grade,” Helle said. “I grew up here in the area and I remember every single one of my teachers.”
But soon, the Northwood Elementary School she knows will no longer be standing. The school is being replaced as part of a project that was passed by 69 percent of voters in a bond measure in 2015. The district broke ground on the new elementary school on March 2.
The school is due for a remodel, according to school district staff. The building opened in the mid-1970s and had its most recent update in 1978.
“We’re really excited that you’re going to have a beautiful new school and you’ve done a great job with the one you’ve had but you’ve used it up and it’s time for something a little bigger and a little bit nicer and something that’s going to be a great addition to our community,” Superintendent Tim Yeomans said at the groundbreaking.
The new Northwood Elementary is being constructed just north of the current building, on the school’s field. The new building will be more than 83,000 square feet with 30 new classrooms and will accommodate 730 students from kindergarten through sixth grade. Right now, there are about 482 students enrolled at Northwood.
83,000 square feet
30 new classrooms
In her seven years as principal, Helle has seen population at the school — and on the North Hill — grow exponentially.
“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve register students every single week,” she said.
Fourth-grader Piper Stiff said she’s excited for the new school, which will come with a brand new playground, but that she might miss her school’s orange carpets.
“I’m sad and excited,” agreed fourth-grader Kianna Tallada. “We’re gonna have a new school and we’re gonna have lots more room (but) the (former) school, it’s home.”
I’m sad and excited. We’re gonna have a new school and we’re gonna have lots more room (but) the (former) school, it’s home.
Kianna Tallada, student at Northwood Elementary
“I’m like Kianna,” added fourth-grader Alaia Washington. “I’m sad and excited because I’ve been to this school ever since kindergarten, so this is like the only school I’ve been to so far.”
The students are also excited to have a cafeteria. Right now, student eat lunches in their classrooms. There will also be new music rooms, a library, gymnasium and improved play areas.
On March 2, the entire school of Northwood was invited to witness the ceremonial groundbreaking. Some of the students might not be here when it opens, but it was important to the district to involve them.
“A piece of my heart still belongs to the old Northwood, but I’m really excited about the new school because it’s definitely needed here on North Hill,” Helle said.
The new building will be ready to open in fall 2019.