The New Redfield Public School Open for Students
Thursday, February 27, 2020
The new Redfield public school is the successful culmination of over two years of change, anticipation, construction, and excitement that has transformed an aging system into a bright, modern, and functional school for generations to come. On February 17, the new auditorium was dedicated in a public ceremony marking the completion of the last major piece of the near $20 million project. First-year superintendent George Seiler is adamant that the new facility couldn’t have been done without the support of the entire community. “It takes a lot of people to get a project like this off the ground,” said Seiler. “We cannot express our gratitude enough within the community for the commitment that they've made to the educational system of Redfield going forward.”
The two-phase project began in the spring of 2017, with a voter-supported bond referendum. It was a hefty price tag for a small town, but it emphasized the importance that local residents place on the future of Redfield, their youth. While classes were in session in the old two-story middle/high school and three-story elementary school, the groundbreaking and construction began on the middle/high school building. As the snow flew, the new single-story structure began taking shape around the older school. It was a little hectic but exciting for everyone involved. As work progressed, the new building went up and the old ones came down. The scale of the project included the demolition of the 1917 high school building in 2018, along with a 1935 addition, a 1954 junior high addition. The last to go was the elementary school that dated back to 1963. This was the “newest” of the old schools, and the last to be demolished.
“You walk in there and you feel like you're in an elementary school,” notes Seiler, who likes the new design, the bright colors, high ceilings, big windows. “It’s more conducive with the learning environments and the group learning that we have going on, especially in the elementary where we have the mass customized learning where we have groups of students that are going back and forth in between classrooms to make sure that they’ve mastered the content areas in the content standards that they need in order to be successful.”
In addition, the new auditorium, and an auxiliary gymnasium were added. These two facilities are cross-functional, for students and the community. For instance, the new auditorium is expected to be the home for plays, concerts, and civic events. Public use and accessibility were major considerations in the design of the new single-story school. Navigating the old three-story structure without elevators limited the accessibility for students, and community members visiting the school. Today’s school has no limits for mobility and access. "Our building right now is completely handicap accessible,” says superintendent Seiler.
The new school is not only a benefit to students, but the staff are enjoying it as well. “I think it's a huge sell for them to just know how committed the community was, to have that feeling of pride in the community to where the teachers know that they're valued, that the educational system is valued,” adds Seiler.
Change is always difficult, but most residents felt the time was right. The Redfield schools have a proud tradition, and to honor their history to former entrance portals to the school have been retained to be used as a memorial to the past. “We have a legacy wall, which in my opinion is one of my favorite spots in the entire building,” admits Seiler, “where they took the arches from the old school and some of the old brick in between the two arches, which are now display cases for fine arts. And they were able to kind of intermingle the old school in with the new school. That wall is amazing. It ties in our history of the Redfield public school system, with the past and into our future and where we're headed.”
We all want to feel proud of where we live, and schools are one of the benchmarks of any successful community. The Redfield School District is setting the standard for the look and feel of a contemporary educational environment.