LEWISTON — Sara Sims can’t wait to open the doors to Robert V. Connors Elementary School this Thursday.

Despite the city’s newest public school being filled with new desks, chairs, artwork and the latest in teaching technology, the school still feels empty to the building’s new principal.

“It’s like a blank space,” said Sims. “People get to build it together,” Sims said about Lewiston’s new $45.8 million elementary school.

The school’s grand opening will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, with an open house to follow until 6 p.m.

“We will have a quick ceremony and we will open the doors,” said Sims. “It will be a fun and an engaging event.”

Teachers and staff from the former Longley Elementary and Martel Elementary schools have been working on their classrooms throughout the summer during times that accommodate construction workers, who are finishing up loose ends, and artists who are putting the icing on the cake — painted murals in the hallways and cafeteria, and a kaleidoscope in the main lobby.

Seven thousand boxes were used to bring classroom supplies and books from the two former elementary schools to the new school that was built on the field where the Lewiston High School Blue Devils once played football, lacrosse and soccer.

Children from at least 13 countries will be represented from within the student body, said Sims. “The diversity makes us so special and unique,” Sims said.

Sims pulled out of her driveway in Virginia on June 27 with her husband, Tim, three children, ages 19, 7 and 4 and drove through the night to reach her new home in Maine. Cradled between arms and legs were two dogs, two cats, a hedge hog, one bird, four fish and a frog.

“It was a Gypsy caravan coming up to Maine,” said Sims.

Sims said that the community has gone above and beyond to help with the grand opening and open house. A local bottler is donating water for the event, credit union employees are making magnets to hand out, local police will be on hand to give vehicle tours and a school bus will be parked out front to familiarize children who have never ridden a bus because they previously walked to school. “Everything has been donated,” said Sims.

“It’s amazing to be in the center of it all,” said Sims. “This is why I came to Maine.”


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