Less than 24 hours after the wax dried on the floors of their new gymnasium, students were dancing, singing and cheering in the space.
On Monday morning, kids and teachers waltzed their way in to the shiny new gym, slapping high fives and squeaking their sneakers to the beat of a DJ as the whole school celebrated the official opening.
“This really opens up the opportunities,” said principal Jennifer Able.
Previously, her students had been taking physical education classes in the 63-year-old building’s multipurpose room, which is roughly two-thirds the size of a typical school gym. That room, which doubled as a lunchroom, fit only about 280 of Greenbriar’s 360 kids—meaning Monday’s celebration was the first time the entire school had been able to gather in one room in years.
“We have a gymnasium that can fit our whole student body,” said Superintendent Larry Hewitt. “We can expand our physical education program.”
The new gym was built as part of a $7 million renovation the district began this summer using money it had in reserve. Workers have already completed a new, secure entry to the building, as well as a renovation to the west portion of Greenbriar, adding new classrooms, new lighting and new paint. The last part of the project will involve a renovation to the east side of the building, according to Superintendent Larry Hewitt. So far, construction has been on time and on budget, he said.
While Greenbriar School’s addition was funded almost entirely through district reserves, approximately $1 million toward the total cost came from the Park District. After school and on weekends, the park district will use the gym for some of its programs.
“It will truly be used by the community a good portion of every day,” Hewitt said.