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With key exchange, Elon Elementary ready to move into its new home

During a ceremony Monday night, President Connie Ledoux Book offered a ceremonial key to Alamance Burlington School System leaders now that construction of the new elementary school on Walker Road is complete. 

A ceremonial key crafted in Elon's Maker Hub represented the power of partnerships on Monday as Elon University turned over the new Elon Elementary School to Alamance Burlington School System. 

​President Connie Ledoux Book presented the carefully crafted key to Superintendent Bruce Benson standing within the entryway to the new school on Walker Road, north of Elon's campus. The new school is the result of a partnership between the university and the school system under which Elon built the new school for the system. Now that the new school is complete, Elon is transferring ownership of the school to the system, which will then transfer the existing Elon Elementary property on East Haggard Avenue to the university. 

"I feel this building is a great example of a strong partnership in action," Book said to the crowd gathered for the ceremony and tours of the new school. "Education is transformational not just for individuals and families and our communities. Education changes the course of the world. This school is an investment in the future, far beyond our time."

The new school is modeled after George C. Simkins Jr. Elementary School in Greensboro and was built by general contractor Samet Corp. The 94,500-square-foot school plan includes three main classroom wings with 34 classrooms and space for music, computer, science, art, teacher workrooms and resource rooms; a multipurpose room and cafeteria with a full-service kitchen; a media center; an administration wing with nine offices, conference rooms, tutor rooms and teachers’ lounge; and a self-contained wing with three classrooms and two resource rooms. It replaces the current Elon Elementary, which was built in 1953. 

Brian Feeley, vice chair of the Alamance County Board of Education and senior director of alumni engagement and annual giving at Elon, said the partnership that produced the new school comes at a time with the community more broadly is investing in education. Along with the start of construction of the new school, last year also saw Alamance County voters approve a $150 million bond package to support education projects and initiatives. 

"None of this would have been possible without the incredible community support and public partnerships that came together," Feeley said. 

Book noted that the partnership on the new Elon Elementary is just one of the many ways the university and school system work together. She pointed to the recent Elon graduates who will join the school system for their first teaching jobs, the Alamance County high school students who will form the new class this summer for the Elon Academy, the university's college access and success program, and the hundreds of students and their family members who have participated in the It Takes at Village Project at Elon. 

"Effective education, we know, takes a strong team effort," Book said. 

In his remarks, Benson noted that projects like the collaboration that brought about the new Elon Elementary don't happen in many places. "This is a building that will have an incredible impact on the experiences our young people have," Benson told the crowd. "I am looking forward to it coming alive."

​Jack Davern, principal of Elon Elementary, presented to President Book a piece of artwork crafted by Elon Elementary students — an acorn formed using the thumbprints of hundreds of students with the message, "From each acorn springs the mightiest oak." A matching piece of artwork will also hang in the new school. 

"This is a testament to how a vision can become reality," Davern told the crowd. "We are going to carry that vision forward by bringing this building to life with incredible things for the students."

Now that construction of Elon Elementary is complete and the keys have been handed off to ABSS, the work begins to fill the school with the desks, chairs, books and supplies that will be waiting for students when they return to school in August. 

The relocation of the school will help alleviate traffic congestion on heavily traveled Haggard Avenue and will create a safer environment for families who pick up and drop off their children. Elon will take possession of the East Haggard Avenue property in October, and plans to eventually use the site of a future quad with residential and academic facilities. After the school building is demolished, Elon will create a new parking area for university use in the short term. 

Owen Covington,
6/10/2019 3:50 PM