By Sue Botos
As they had for 85 years, a pair of ornate carved sandstone signs reading “Goldwood School” will once again welcome visitors.
But now, instead of adorning doorway arches outside of the former Board of Education Building, the signs will serve as a link to the past as they grace the new office addition at Goldwood Primary School.
The newly completed 2,059-square-foot addition sits in the footprint of the old Goldwood School building, which was razed during the summer after it was determined that renovation was cost prohibitive. The building served a number of purposes throughout its years, most recently housing the school board offices, since the 1970s. A portion of the Beach Education Center was revamped, and now serves as the board offices.
Part of a $5 million capital improvement project, made possible by the passage of a bond issue in 2010, the Goldwood edition is the latest part to be finished. Kensington Intermediate School received a major facelift which, among other improvements, converted the auditorium to a multipurpose room, and work continues at the high school where the focus has shifted to the gym and pool areas.
But the common thread running through the facelifts at all of the district buildings is improved security, and the Goldwood addition, which includes new school office, clinic, principal’s office and conference, boasts state-of-the art equipment.
“We’re so happy that this could be added, but we were thinking of safety even before the tragedies in Chardon and Connecticut,” commented Dianna Foley, executive director of communications and technology during a recent tour of the bright, sunlit space, highlighted by dark, robin’s egg blue walls.
Visibility is the theme, as Foley noted the old security system consisted of a camera and buzzer, offering a view of entrances by monitor only. “Now (principal) Carol (Rosiak) can look out and see people,” she noted, showing Rosiak’s corner office, which contrasts with her old windowless quarters.
That old office area, said Foley, will become tutoring and special education space.
Mark Ferry of Digital Security Systems was on hand doing some fine tuning. He demonstrated a key fob, given to all staff and administrators, which unlocks the main entrance similar to a car’s keyless entry system. He added that the system has the capability for principals and office staff at all of the school buildings as well as the board of education office, to view all building entrances. In addition, police will also be able to have access to all buildings.
In addition, the entire building is now routed for wireless devices.
“It’s not that someone’s going to be watching all day, the bottom line is safety for the students and the staff,” he stated.
“This is not a huge add-on, but it makes a huge difference,” continued Foley, as she lead the way to a new, small meeting room, which doubles as the studio for the school’s morning announcements. Neutral carpet squares, depicting various school-themed symbols, cover the floor, matching those installed in the classrooms.
A window has also been added to the adjacent music room. Foley said that music teacher Karen Mahoney reported that the students have noticed the big difference natural light makes to their space.
Other improvements to the school include the remodel of the second grade wing with new lights, ceilings and cubby spaces.
A small playground used by kindergarten and preschool students was torn down to make way for the new addition, but Foley said a new play area may be constructed near the preschool room.
Pointing out the cameras outside of the building, near one of the old Goldwood signs, Foley noted that while the addition may be complete, safety plans never are, and that administrators are always working with police. “We’re always taking a look at safety plans. This is not the type of thing you write a plan for and put on a shelf,” she stated.