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Pangborn Elementary students say new school is 'cool'

October 08, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- Comparing their old school to a "funky zoo," fifth-graders Erika Johnson and Megan Davis celebrated the opening of their new school, Pangborn Elementary, on Tuesday.

The 10-year-olds said their new school is "cool" and still filled with Pangborn Panther pride.

Erika and Megan won a poetry contest for their poem comparing the old school with the new, and shared their work during a dedication ceremony on Tuesday.

The new Pangborn Elementary opened for students in August near the old school, which was 53 years old and has since been torn down. Another replacement school for Maugansville Elementary and the new Rockland Woods Elementary, south of Hagerstown, also opened this year.

"It's wonderful," Pangborn Principal Richard Gehrman said. "(Students) have adapted to the new environment. You can see the smiles on their faces."

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The new 85,336-sqare-foot building is about 35,000 square feet larger than the previous school and enrolls about 650 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

One of the greatest improvements was the addition of air conditioning, Gehrman said. Megan said that is one of the best things about her new school. Megan and Erika's other favorites include bigger classrooms and having two playgrounds.

"Enjoy it," Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan told students at Tuesday's ceremony. "It was built for you."

Students sang a song during the ceremony about their new school before a ceremonial ribbon was cut.

Two local elected officials who attended Pangborn Elementary School in their youth also were at the event: Maryland Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, and Washington County Commissioners President John F. Barr.

Barr said he was a Pangborn student about 50 years ago, and thanked local and state officials, parents and students who made completion of the new school possible.

Shank recalled his first days as a Pangborn student - 20 years after Barr walked the school's halls - and said he was "very scared."

Walking into the new building Tuesday, Shank said he became nostalgic for the old building, and the happy memories he shared with students and teachers there.

"Pangborn Elementary meant something to me," he said. "That was the place where dreams came true. New dreams start today."

A dedication ceremony for Maugansville Elementary School will take place Oct. 14 at 9 a.m.

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