Bellview bounces back

After a year of construction and massive renovation efforts, Bellview Elementary School is back in a big way. The school opened its doors to new student registration this week as crews work to put the final touches on an overhaul that includes a new front office, library and classrooms.

Many students had registered for the upcoming school year back in the spring. But those yet to sign up walked through the new double-doors on Tolman Creek Road and were amazed at what they saw.

“The word people have most often uttered is ‘beautiful,'” said Bellview Principal Michelle Zundel.
The upgraded facilities will provide students more supportive learning environment than in years past, according to Zundel. That environment includes computer projectors in each class and specialized rooms for art and science.

“There are some incredible purpose-built spaces. This is going to be an incredible place to learn,” Zundel said.

Bellview was selected by the city for reconstruction due to a number of structural problems detected within the old building.

“There were holes in the library floor, and the building did not meet (disability) requirements,” Zundel said. “Now we are welcoming students and families back to a school that is entirely wheelchair accessible.”

Bellview fifth-grade teacher Max Schmeling was just as impressed.

“I did notice that a lot of the things in the old school showed signs of their age,” Schmeling said. “The kids will appreciate being in a new building.” Though marveling at the architecture, he says the single greatest addition to students' classroom experience will be the abundance of new technology coming the school's way.

Each classroom will be equipped with a SMART Board, a computer-based whiteboard program that allows children to write and draw on the projected image with a special pen. Schmeling says the SMART boards will engage students in their learning by allowing them greater interaction with it.

Each classroom will also be issued a digital camera, for supervised student use. Images from the camera can be projected onto the SMART Board, allowing teachers to photograph and then project math or history assignments.

“I think there are all kinds of really neat things that can come with it,” Schmeling said. “There are all sorts of opportunities there with technology.”

Zundel asked that parents who come to register wait before walking around the facility, as some construction projects are still wrapping up.

“There are still considerable amounts of work to be done,” she said.

On Sept. 4, the school will hold an open house for Bellview students and families. Ashland elementary schools start the school year Sept. 8.

The community is invited to an open house Sept. 16 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

New building and state-of-the-art technology assures a bright future for Bellview students for years to come, Zundel said.

“I am so grateful to citizens and to the school board, and everybody that built this gorgeous school,” she said.

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