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New beginnings: L-EISD's new elementary ready for new school year

New beginnings: L-EISD's new elementary ready for new school year

August 11th, 2018 by Jennifer Middleton in Texarkana News

Liberty-Eylau Independent School District Superintendent Ronnie Thompson speaks Friday during the grand opening of the district's new elementary school on U.S. Highway 59. The building's facade features rocks from the previous building, also known as the "Rock School," which was built in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration Project. Also shown are Trustee James Keeton, left, and L-E Elementary Principal Brandon Thurston, right.

Photo by Jennifer Middleton /Texarkana Gazette.

The rock facade of Liberty-Eylau Elementary School shone bright in the sunlight Friday afternoon, as the district held a grand opening for the new building.

Liberty-Eylau Independent School District's Board of Trustees, area leaders, teachers, staff and parents were on hand to celebrate the new school, which was funded through a $20.9 million bond voters approved in May 2016.

Superintendent Ronnie Thompson said the facility provides a quality learning space that is flexible, safe and will allow for growth.

Gallery: Rock Enroll: With the last brick in place, L-E Elementary ready for pupils

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"We think this site meets the needs of this amazing community," he told those gathered in front of the school. "The new updates will provide our students with a safe, creatively designed 21st century learning environment. It is my hope this new elementary school makes you feel welcome and comfortable where all children can learn into the future."

The new school resembles the old building, also called the "Rock School," and features rocks from the original building, which was torn down in July 2017. The rocks were quarried from Hooks, Texas, and lined the outside of the previous structure, which was built in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration project. When it was demolished, rocks were not only saved for the new school, but were also made available to the public if they wanted a souvenir.

Buford Thompson Construction built the school, which was designed by Thacker-Davis Architects. Furniture for the 100,000 square-foot facility was designed by Ledwell to provide flexible learning spaces throughout the building.

"Throughout the design of both inside and outside spaces, students and staff were the focus," Thompson said. "You will see beautiful learning areas perfectly sized for young children, useful spaces for personal learning activities, creative spaces for group learning and handicapped-accessible play spaces. The designs bring in natural and soft ambient light, provide safe and welcoming spaces throughout the design and have a functional and purposeful flow."

The building includes a gym, which features a stage that flows into the music room and a special education suite, along with art and science rooms. One of the school's three hallways is a safety shelter, which is required by the state of Texas for all new construction. It has its own air, electrical, water and ventilation systems to be used in case of an emergency and features reinforced walls, doors and windows.

Classes will begin Monday.

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