Loyal Heights Elementary debuts new campus to the community

New building with advanced technologies brings pride to the community

Piper Sloan, Features Editor
Originally published October 25, 2018

Piper SloanThe old cafeteria was transformed into a spacious new library during the renovation. There were additions to the old building as well as brand new structures.

Piper Sloan

The old cafeteria was transformed into a spacious new library during the renovation. There were additions to the old building as well as brand new structures.

After two years of construction, Loyal Heights Elementary has debuted its brand new campus. While the old building is still intact and in use, it has undergone significant remodels, along with an entirely new building that just about doubles the size of the school.

The new building is equipped with new security features, energy efficient heating and cooling systems and multiple new classrooms. It is built to hold 660 students, roughly 208 more than the current enrollment number.

Many of the upgrades to the building are within the realm of security. All entrances except two require a staff card to enter. Students are led to and from their classrooms by their teacher at the beginning and the end of class. Principal Geri Guerrero says they have tried to find a balance between being open to the community and keeping students safe. 

“With the climate and the culture of our society today, there’s been more of a push for safety and security,” Guerrero said. “How do we keep our children safe, but still try to have fun in school and make it a really joyful place?”

Another focus of the new building is inclusivity and collaboration. Throughout the new hallways there are “collaborative learning spaces,” which are like classrooms but are entirely open to the hallways. These spaces have chairs, tables and whiteboards but they are used mostly for small group work instead of teaching. 

John Hamel, a fourth and fifth grade teacher at the school, particularly enjoys the bright, more open, feeling of the new building.

“This new part really has a positive vibe because of how big the windows are and how bright the rooms are,” Hamel said. “You can just look out the windows and see the trees and it just brings a brightness and calmness and positive feeling to everything.”

Though much of the focus has been on the new addition to the campus, the existing building underwent some significant remodel as well. All lockers have been removed from the hallways and replaced with cubbies inside the students’ classrooms. The old cafeteria is now the school library and in place of the old nurse’s office and staff room there is a brand new art room.

Outside of the building, there have been some major changes to the playground and courtyard. The old play structure was taken apart and replaced with a brand new play structure, and while students are still unsure which they prefer, no one seems to be complaining. There is no longer a grass field, though there are basketball courts, images, and a track painted on the blacktop. 

“One of the worries and concerns was that there wasn’t going to be enough playground space,” Hamel said. “But, as you can see, it has a ton of playground space that students can take advantage of.”

Overall, the new building is bringing lots of pride to the community. “They’ve been watching the building go up and expand, and there’s a lot of excitement around it,” Guerrero said.