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Just like new

Salem Avenue Elementary shows off renovations

Salem Avenue Elementary shows off renovations

August 22, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - The school's new gymnasium once held four fourth-grade classrooms. The media center, now filled with books and computers, was the gymnasium and cafeteria.

Salem Avenue Elementary School is hardly recognizable as the building it was just a few years ago, Principal Tom Garner said. Officials there were expecting about 700 students, parents, teachers and others to attend the school's open house Monday night.

Nearly three years of renovations and construction on the school recently were completed.

A new gym, cafeteria, media center, office suite and classrooms were added to the 53-year-old building, which is about 45,000 square feet larger.

"We're very excited," Garner said. "You just can't ask for a better building than this."

Angela Stewart went to school at Salem Avenue Elementary in the 1980s, she said. This year, her daughter, Tayana Stewart, 10, and her son, Mizayah Norris, 6, will be students there.

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"Some of the teachers are the same," said Stewart, of Hagerstown. "The building is a lot different, though. It's beautiful. It don't feel like my school anymore."

Tayana said she was most excited about the new gymnasium that has several basketball hoops. Before, she said, there were no basketball hoops at school.

Tayana said the school's art teacher moved from room to room last year. This year, Tayana said she was looking forward to going to the school's new art classroom.

Stewart said she was impressed at how much larger the school building and individual classrooms were.

Dajohnna Lyles, 6, will be a second-grader at the school this year. She said she liked that each of the classrooms had a bathroom.

Garner said each classroom also has a television with a VCR and DVD player.

"Before, some of the school's televisions were 20 years old," he said. "We even had some black-and-white ones in here."

Amy Hendershot, of Hagerstown, whose 8-year-old daughter, Taylor, will be in third grade, said she thinks the renovations were a great improvement for the school.

"I really like that everything's new," Taylor said.

During the open house, she said she'd been to see her classroom.

"It's much bigger than the other one," she said.

Washington County Board of Education members Paul W. Bailey and Russell F. Williams attended the open house. Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan also was there.

Williams said he believed the Salem Avenue Elementary building was a bright facility that will be a great learning environment for students.

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