The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

    Bells Mill opens modernized building to students

    After roughly 19 months of construction, the long awaited Bells Mill Elementary School modernization was completed in the middle of July and opened to students Aug. 31.

    The modernization has brought a number of additions to the building, including a new gym, Promethean boards in every classroom and new playgrounds.

    “The school is even more beautiful than I expected,” Principal Jerri Oglesby said.  “I have had the pleasure of watching the building come together from the very beginning, and each day it became even more incredible.”

    Two favorite additions among teachers and students at the school are the new gym and fields.  In previous years, the school’s all-purpose room was used for both gym and lunch. Now with the new gym addition, lunch and gym classes can be scheduled simultaneously.

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    “The students are as blown away by the gym as I am,” physical education teacher Jim Romans said. “The look on their faces the first time they walked in says it all.”

    According to Romans, he will be able to expand his curriculum with the new gym, fields and blacktop, and he is looking forward to an improved basketball unit, with permanent basketball hoops in the gym replacing the portable ones in the old school.

    The school has also become more energy efficient and has been deemed a “green” building with many new features that have made the building less harmful to the environment.

    “We [now have] a building with a geothermal heating and cooling system which means that we use the ground water that is heated with pumps and sent through the building,” Olgesby said.  “All classrooms are outfitted with a special type of fluorescent light where the light comes from above as well as below the fixture, eliminating glare in the classrooms.  Also, all light fixtures turn off automatically when the room is vacant or there is no movement detected.  Some rooms have built in [carbon dioxide] sensors and this allows for an increase in air conditioning when there are more people in the room.”

    According to fourth grade teacher Jessica Childress, her favorite part about the new building is the increased  space.  Students have their own cubbies for backpacks and jackets, while teachers have more cabinet space to house their supplies.

    The school has also installed new security features in the hopes of increasing safety.

    “All doors are air locked during the school day,” Olgesby said.  “Our school entrance has a double door entryway.  That means that in the morning both sets of doors are unlocked, allowing entrance into the building.  However, once students have arrived, the interior entrance doors are locked and all visitors must enter into the office.  This provides better monitoring of who is entering our building.  In addition, we have the ability to lock the exterior doors from inside the office without using a key.”

    According to Bells Mill PTA President Lisa Stackman, even with many delays due to county budget issues, the community is excited to enjoy the new elementary school.

    “We are thrilled to be [here] and it makes the whole process we had to go through to get the new school worth it,” Stackman said.

    Bells Mill is the first of many schools that are being modernized.  Cabin John Middle School is also undergoing a modernization project slated to be completed in 2011.

    “The building is state of the art,” Romans said.  “It is so big and clean and wonderful.  It’s like moving into a brand new home.”

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    Bells Mill opens modernized building to students