The Westlake community turned out in fine fashion on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 21, to celebrate the formal dedication and ribbon cutting of the new Westlake Elementary School.
The new school, which serves students PreK through 4th grades, was welcomed by a turnout of hundreds of residents who took part in the celebration and tours of the new facility. The school is located just west of Westlake Porter Public Library along Center Ridge Road.
A brief ceremony was held in front of the main entrance to the building, featuring performances by the Westlake High School Marching Band and Elementary School Choir.
Remarks from Supt. Dr. Scott Goggin, Mayor Dennis Clough, BOE President Barb Lesznski and Citizens for Westlake Schools Campaign Chair Jenn Frey were followed by a grand ribbon-cutting.
The ceremonial ribbon-cutting included school and community dignitaries plus the school’s three principals and student representatives.
Tours of the new facility followed, assisted by maps for self-guided walks through the school’s three grade level pods and common areas.
The school serves PreK-4 grade levels in three separate houses, or pods. The three houses serve PreK-K and Preschool, Grades 1-2 and Grades 3-4. Central to the plan are administration offices and core facilities including the gymnasium and administration offices, art and music rooms. Each house also offers an extended, flexible learning area that can be used for various needs.
The new school sits on approximately 30 acres and comprises about 154,000 square feet. 1200 students are served.
The new elementary school replaces the district’s four previous elementary schools — Bassett, Dover, Hilliard and Holly Lane, which will be demolished.
The new school is being hailed as a victory for public education in the community. “We listened to the community, we went to the stakeholders, we asked them what they wanted, we listened to what they had to say,” said Supt. Goggin. “We took all that information and gave it to Lesko and Associates Architects, and they delivered on this project.”
Indeed, the new school offers many areas of note:
- It replaces four obsolete schools with one, new state-of-the art facility. It joins Westlake High, Dover Intermediate School and Burneson Middle School as the final piece of a district-wide upgrade to new facilities.
- The four ‘pods’ of the school maintain the small school feel of the primary school experience for students. It was designed by Lesko Associates, a long-standing architect for Westlake education.
- The partnership between Westlake Schools and the City of Westlake serves as a model for community cooperation. Westlake Schools and the offices of Mayor Dennis Clough and City Council worked creatively and imaginatively to find common ground in their roles as separate taxing agencies to advance the project on land formerly held by the municipality.
- The proximity to Westlake Porter Public Library centralizes Westlake centers of learning.
“This is a win for everyone in the community,” said and enthusiastic Mayor Clough as he joined with the other speakers in thanking voters who approved a 1.3-mill bond issue and 0.8-mill permanent improvement levy on Nov. 8, 2016. The bond issue funds the new, centrally located PK-4 elementary school to replace the district’s four aging schools. The PI levy creates a separate maintenance fund for capital expenses to help protect the public’s investment in facilities.
The combined 2.1-mill issue completes the final phase of the Master Facilities Plan.