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Rebuilt Salem Woods and Frank Wagner elementaries,
plus Park Place Middle, readying for school year

In a full rebuild, Salem Woods Elementary grew to two stories tall. The new school replaces a campus built in 1980. A crew was out Saturday, Aug. 18 still working on the school.

MONROE — More than 1,000 students will walk into upgraded learning environments at a trio of Monroe schools when they begin class in September.
The modernization projects at Salem Woods Elementary, Frank Wagner Elementary and Park Place Middle School were paid for by a $110 million 2015 bond and $20 million in state assistance.
At Frank Wagner, families will find a safer and more stable school according to district spokeswoman Tamara Krache. Portables are out, and permanent classrooms are built. There will be more of them, too, to accommodate future growth. A new library has also been built into the two-story main campus and administration offices have been upgraded. Parents may also be relieved to find parking lot improvements for student drop offs.
“This year our students will be introduced to our new Maker Space room where they will be engaged in a variety of STEAM activities,” said Frank Wagner principal Kristin Cortes in an email. STEAM is a learning framework that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.
The improvements cost an estimated $15.7 million, Krache said.
At Salem Woods Elementary, students will find a brand new two-story school that adds capacity and facilities. A new library, administration area and gathering space for students are all receiving the final touches. The new design brings classrooms closer together and creates a connected shared space to facilitate collaboration. The consolidated layout also increases safety by limiting access points to the school.
“We can’t wait to see the look on our students faces on the first day when they see all that our new space holds,” said Salem Woods principal Janna Pope in an email. “The building allows us to learn safely indoors while still viewing the outdoors through all the glass features,” she added. Students will stay dry as well thanks to the new glass enclosures.
The Salem Woods work is estimated to cost $23.8 million, Krache said.
The $62.4 million Park Place Middle School project created an entirely new building with improved security, all weather fields and synthetic track with lighting, plus an auxiliary gym, Krache said. The existing gym was also renovated.
The new building allows “teachers to create small learning communities where students feel closely connected to their classmates and teachers. The design of our building opens the door to integrating our content areas and making it easier for students to see the connections between subject areas,” said Park Place principal Terry Cheshire in an email.
All three schools will celebrate their new facilities with ribbon cutting events.
Salem Woods’ ribbon cutting will be Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. and Park Place’s is set for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
A community open house Saturday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Frank Wagner will also kick off with a ribbon cutting.
Next for the district is construction to expand Hidden River Middle School and also Chain Lake Elementary’s parking lot, set to begin in September.


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