New elementary school opens for Basehor-Linwood students
For students at the new Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, Monday was a day to remember.
Just moments after student council president T.J. Gumm used a three-foot-long pair of scissors to snip a ribbon strung across the front of the new school, the crowd erupted in high-pitched squeals and about 200 children began stampeding toward their new school.
Principal Tom Sack quickly regained order over the crowd and within moments, backpack-laden students quietly filed inside with their respective teachers.
This was the moment they had all been waiting for.
Ashley Clayton, 9, a third-grader, said she liked the looks of the new building.
"It's a lot bigger school than what we have had," she said.
Abby Klinkenberg, 11, a fifth-grader, said she looked forward to her first day of classes at the new school. "It will be a lot of fun," she said.
And Carolyn Sneed, grandmother of first-grader Blake Sneed, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and was also happy about the new school.
"I think it's a nice looking school," Sneed said. "I haven't been in it yet, but I thought I'd try to sneak a peek this morning."
And clearly, it wasn't just students and their families who were excited Monday about Glenwood Ridge's opening.
David Pendleton, Basehor-Linwood superintendent, said that years ago there had been a Glenwood school nearby.
"We're returning a school to this area," Pendleton said. "This area will now have a school and an identity of its own. It's very exciting."
Kerry Mueller, president of the Basehor-Linwood school board, helped with the ribbon-cutting ceremony and watched as the children entered the school.
"It's real exciting to see the students coming in and the building opening," Mueller said. "It's rewarding to see it in operation after all the hard work."
Don Swartz, assistant superintendent, oversaw much of the construction.
"It looks fantastic," he said of the new school. But he added there's still work to do outside.
"We're happy to have the kids coming in," he said.
Pendleton, who has been superintendent for five years and worked as assistant superintendent for seven years before that, recalled the early days of planning for the school.
When he took over as superintendent, the voters in the Basehor-Linwood school district had already turned down five attempts at a bond issue for district school improvements.
Pendleton said it finally passed on the sixth try during his tenure as superintendent.
"We listened to people," Pendleton said. "There was so much yelling about what people wanted to have that nobody was paying attention to each other. The board, myself and others went out into the community to talk to people."
A proposal came up, he said.
"Nobody liked it. That's when I knew it was the perfect bond issue," Pendleton said. "It required sacrifices from everybody and it provided benefits to everybody."
That time, the bond issue didn't just pass.
"It passed in grand style with close to 70 percent support," Pendleton said. "Considering that the five previous bond issues had failed, that wasn't too bad."
Mueller said that the public support has paid off, even perhaps, more than most people think.
"The patrons in the community going day to day may not realize the strides that we're making in education," Mueller said. "We're doing some wonderful things."
Pendleton agreed, and said it wouldn't have been possible without support from the students' families.
"We've done more than just build buildings in the last five years," he said. "We've created relationships with parents. I think those relationships will be of tremendous value in the future."