New Tonganoxie Elementary School creates ‘excitement and pride’
There were no official counts of how many people visited Tonganoxie Elementary School on Saturday for the new school’s open house.
But Parent Teacher Club members handed out 504 cookies and bottled water to visitors — and then handed out packaged cookies because they ran out of the original allotment. Volunteers had to make two visits to Brothers Market for more cookies.
That meant at least 500 came through the doors to check out Tonganoxie’s newest school, a spacious two-story structure that will be home to grades kindergarten through fifth grade starting next month.
TES principal Ty Poell said he estimated there were 1,000 visitors Saturday, many with rave reviews of the new school.
“There was a lot of excitement and pride,” Poell said. “It was just a huge day to be able to open the building to the community.”
Festivities kicked off with a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. in the TES gymnasium. A packed house was on hand for the dedication, and then visitors made their way through the school, maps in hand.
Some visitors also participated in a scavenger hunt, but many who attended just were getting themselves acclimated to the new school.
Matt and Emily Ditty of Tonganoxie were two of the patrons who visited the school.
Emily, who taught in Eudora the past four years, said she liked the school’s layout, especially the pod configuration of each of the grades.
Matt, who went through the Tonganoxie school system, also was impressed.
“Oh yeah, very different,” Matt said, referring to the former elementary school where he was a student.
Poell said there still were some things that needed to be addressed before school starts Aug. 20, but finishing touches would be put on the campus in these final weeks before the 2015-16 school year begins.
The new school has its shares of new amenities, including a stage in the main gymnasium.
The two gymnasiums in the former school did not have stages. The new school also boasts more natural light and a more spacious library.
The Tonganoxie Recreation Commission had planned for an outdoor movie night outside the new school Saturday evening, but the group moved inside because of potential rainy weather. The showing of the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” took place at the TES gymnasium.
Voters approved a $27.2 million bond issue in 2012 to fund the new school. The measure passed with about 60 percent of the vote. State aid covers about $9.3 million of that total.