PARIS – Doug Hoy said watching the new Paris Elementary School being built is like watching one’s new house to go up – he just can’t wait to move in.

Hoy, a fifth-grade teacher at Madison Avenue Elementary School in Oxford, even has his new classroom picked out.

The new school on High Street opens next spring and will house all the students and staff now at Mildred Fox Elementary School in Paris, grades kindergarten to three, and at Madison, grades four to six. Fox and Madison schools will close. It is 85 percent complete.

The school is built to accommodate 450 students, said John Parsons, owner’s representative on the Paris Elementary project. Next spring, 350 students and about 60 staff members will occupy it.

Upon its completion each of the eight towns in the district will have its own K to 6 school.

The school cost the district about $12 million, Parsons said.

Students will be broken up by grade level into three small communities, said Jane Fahey, principal at Madison and Fox schools and future principal at Paris. There is a wing for the kindergarten, first- and second-graders, a wing for grades three and four, and a wing for grades five and six.

“It will be like a small school within a large school,” Fahey said.

The district held a series of meetings concerning the facilities the school will offer. Parents, teachers, staff and residents all had a chance to give input.

There will be no more dragging desks out into hallways. Each set of two classrooms share a tutorial room for small-group work or private testing. In each wing there is also a project room where students can go work in larger groups, and a presentation room.

A stage connects the cafeteria and gymnasium. It has removable walls, so it can be opened up to serve both rooms or divided as needed.

Each of the kindergarten through second grade classrooms has its own bathroom. Two prekindergarten rooms have an adjoined observation room and radiant floor heating.

Two teachers who were especially thrilled with the new school were the music and arts teachers, Parsons said. The music room is larger than at other schools and has two practice rooms. The art room is angled so the eastern light comes through its many windows, and it has a kiln room and storage room.

There is also a dedicated science lab. Since there is no science teacher for the school, teachers will share use of the room, Parsons said.

The school also has plenty of space for mentally challenged or disabled students.

Parsons said the school is equipped with a computerized security system. A system will monitor the doors and each staff member will have a key card.

Fahey said the school will have “top of the line” technology and amenities such as a recycling center.

Parsons said each classroom has an Internet connection. On the fifth and sixth grade floor, a room is designed with hookups for laptops. There is also a computer lab for all students.

There will also be two playgrounds, one for the three lower grades and one for the three upper grades.

Aging buildings is a problem the district is facing, Parsons said. The district’s buildings are approaching 40 to 50 years of age and are starting to wear.

Madison is a leased building, and the lease is up as of June 2007, Parsons said. School officials are debating what to do with Fox. Possible options include giving it to the town, making it a prekindergarten facility or turning it into administrative offices.

The staff from Madison and Fox have watched the process from Paris Elementary’s start to near-completion, and Hoy is not the only one excited about getting a new “home.” Staff members sported their enthusiasm in the form of bright red matching T-shirts at their opening ceremony Tuesday. They sat together and whooped loudly when Eastman mentioned the school.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.