Cape District Holds Tour of New Rehoboth Elementary
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- Students who ended the last school year at Rehoboth Elementary are settling into a new building, even if they didn't move up to middle school yet. Construction of a new school began in April 2018 and it was complete in time for the 2019 school year. Students, staff, parents, and the public toured the new building Monday afternoon.
A ribbon with the Cape Henlopen School District logo was sliced around 5 p.m. Monday night to celebrate the opening of the new school. Director of Capital Projects Brian Bassett says the new building took 17 months to build and that it opened in time for teachers to go back to school at the end of August.
First grader Adriana Garcia says she's most excited to play on the new playground and eat in the new lunch room. Natalie Nails, who will be part of the first graduating 5th grade class says she likes how much bigger the classrooms are. Her mother and PTO President Deborah Nails adds that this building has an additional 30,000 square feet compared to the original school.
Bassett says that the new building will easily accommodate the 500 students that are currently enrolled and leave room for growth.
"This is part of our long range plan to make every school as we built them new or remodel them larger than their existing ones," he says. "It increased our capacity by thousands, which we had to do just to keep up with the current enrollment."
Rehoboth Elementary used to be made up of two buildings. The building once used for kindergarten and 1st grade was located where buses now park. The building that was once used for 2nd through 5th grade will be demolished too and some athletic surfaces will be installed.
"Students don't have to walk between buses that are pulling in," says Bassett. "We just have so many safety features that the old building didn't have, which served us great for 50 years for the smaller building and 85 for the larger building."
Bassett says the new school comes with many safety upgrades. "We have the access control up front, a visitor management system that they go through," he says "We have panic buttons in the building to lock down wings if there is an intruder in the building. We have bullet resistant film on the classroom hall windows."
Rehoboth Elementary has the same floor plan as Love Creek and H.O. Brittingham Elementaries. Bassett says each school is unique to its location. For example, the color scheme in Rehoboth embodies the spirit of the town.
The original school will live on in the new one. The floor from the first gym was used to build the conference and history room. Display cases from the original school are accompanied by other pieces of history on the wall.
Completing this elementary is the fifth of ten expansion projects for the district. The Sussex Consortium is the next to complete. After that additions will be performed on Milton and Richard A. Shields elementary schools as well as Cape Henlopen High School. Then the district will turn its attention to constructing a third middle school.