100 Year Old School Needs An Upgrade

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 03/06 2014 06:12PM

Updated 03/08 2014 05:48PM

HYDE PARK, Vt. - A school built more than a century ago is in need of some major upgrades.

Classrooms with no windows, small cramped hallways, and only one bathroom for more than 100 students. Principal Diane Reilly says those are just some of the reasons, Hyde Park Elementary School needs an upgrade.

“The space is inhibiting what we can do educationally,” said Diane Reilly, Principal of Hyde Park Elementary.

Reilly says a portion of the school was built in 1898. The floors show its age. Over the years the school has undergone a few renovations; the last one was more than 20 years ago. But Reilly says as more students enroll they are in desperate need of more space.

“Every single closet, every single space in the building is used for student purposes,” said Reilly.

And every room has a dual purpose. In one room dividers help five separate special education teachers hold five separate lessons at once. And the music room shares a space with the reading room.

“It’s very complicated, there are so many things that we are doing that would be just take pressure off, be less stressful for the teachers, the staff, the students, if we had a space that was more accommodating," said Reilly.

The school board has a plan that’s been in the works for more than a year.

“We need to give them a space that fits their basic needs as well as their educational needs,” said Raven Walters, the Hyde Park Elementary School Board Chair.

Walters says the plans aren't finalized yet but include more square footage, better insulation, and a separate gym and cafeteria. The price tag-about 17 million dollars.

“Nobody from the school board perspective is looking to build Vermont’s most beautiful school. But what we do want to do is give our kids a reasonably nice facility in which they can get their education so they can go out and make Vermont proud,” said Walters.

The plan is to keep the integrity of the 100 year old school but upgrade a good portion of the rest. The school board hopes to finalize the plans and put a bond up to a public vote this year.

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