by JASMINE ELSHAMY Photo/Video Editor
The renovations of what was previously known as Applegarth Middle School are now finished and look beautifully fitting for the elementary school, which contains grades four and five.
“The Falconer’s Voice” staff took a visit to Applegarth Elementary School and able to tour the school to observe all of the additions and changes to the school. Principal Dennis Ventrello gave us a tour and shed some insight on what it was like getting to redo the aged school, and some of the challenges faced while doing so.
The first notable change when one approaches the school are the walls of the doorway of the main entrance. They are designed like a bookshelf with many books that elementary school students would read, and it creates a welcoming feeling when entering.
The main office is the same, as well as the security desk, but the main hallway is very different. All of the lockers have been removed; in their place, the walls are lined with a huge mural of a forest and a picture of the school made to look like a postcard.
“I started off 10,000 years ago as an art teacher….I worked with some graphic designers to make a splash of color to make it more entertaining for the kids,” says Principal Ventrello. “We had it printed on something that could be moved, so if [Applegarth] becomes another school, it can easily come down.”
We journeyed down the former eighth grade hallway, which is now a combination of both grade levels. The classrooms are transformed and look much more appropriate for a younger generation, with many colors and arts and crafts projects hanging from the ceiling. This was especially notable to all of us because each of us had gone to Applegarth as a middle schooler (including Ms. Speizer, the old timer).
“I am so happy with how Applegarth turned out. It has so much history and the way it is being preserved is remarkable,” says junior Sydney Murano.
According to Principal Ventrello, the kitchen changed as well because things had to be remodeled and refurbished to make it accommodating for students. The science labs have not been refurbished, and the lockers have not been taken out of the changing rooms in the gym.
The gym has been cleaned and now has a blue Falcons symbol in the center. The place looks brand new with the shiny, waxed floors and wide-open spacing.
“Applegarth means so much to me, I have so many memories there, like the pep rallies in the gym and field day outside. I am glad it has been done justice in the renovations,” says sophomore Brina Haugland.
There used to be a great concern about the water in Applegarth, with rumors that it was filthy, along with others that claimed it was asbestos infected. Therefore, Brita and Poland Spring drinking stations were installed throughout the school.
The trailers are no longer in use, and what used to be the Industrial Arts room is now a tech office/supply room. In place of the trailers, a playground similar to the one at Oak Tree Elementary School, right across the street from Applegarth, has also been added to the school.
Having opened way back in 1936, Applegarth has been a center for education for generations of students, and thanks to these wonderful changes, it hopefully will continue doing just that.