Next week, 73 years after the original opened—known then as Plum Township High School—the new George Pivik Elementary will open its doors to students and mark the start of what district Superintendent Timothy Glasspool considers its legacy.
“Our school will serve tens of thousands of students, and its legacy will outlive all of us,” Glasspool said.
After the groundbreaking in March of 2012, Nello Construction and Russo Construction Management teams worked aggressively to complete the work for the 2012-2013 school year, according to Dennis Russo, an independent contractor serving as the district representative for construction.
“The timeline was aggressive,” he said. “The production of work was aggressive.”
At , school boards members, faculty, and members of Mr. Pivik’s family were invited to tour the building, which sits across School Road from the original school in Plum.
The 75,000-square foot building with its large louver windows and open two-story high vestibules boasts a large amount of sunlight that brightens the blue/gray-painted walls and stone and brick work that detail the school. Halls are already lined with “Welcome Back” banners and classrooms have desks, supplies, and teachers’ personal touches in place.
Principal Gail Yamnitzky said the school administrative assistant, Claudine Stiglich, teachers and other staff members worked hard to organize and pack up the classrooms from the original school, unpack at the new location, and decorate for the first day of school. She thanked the custodial staff and members of the information technology department for their help with the transition to the new school.
The administration wing begins at the front door and contains a waiting area, offices for the principal and staff, a conference room, copy and mail room, and the nurse’s office. A full gymnasium with basketball hoops and purple bleachers and a cafeteria outfitted in stainless steel complete the rest of that half of the first floor. Opposite of the administration wing is the library already filled with books, a computer lab, art room, and the kindergarten, first and second grade classrooms.
The second floor holds a music room, science storage, classrooms for grades third through sixth and a beautiful view.
According to Russo, the school is compliant with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act and is state-of-the-art with such technology as wireless capability throughout the building, projection screens in the lunch room, environmental controls, such as automatic lights, security cameras, and a SMART board, an interactive whiteboard that uses touch detection for user input in the same way a personal computer does, in every classroom.
“Everything is designed to work efficiently and save costs,” he said.
Outside are a large parking lot, separate bus and parent drop off spots, play areas, green space, playground, basketball court, and room for more play areas, if needed.
“To build a new school for children is an act of faith” Yamnitzky said, “and a community must believe in three things: It must believe in the future, it must believe in the value of education, and, above all else, it must believe in the capacity of the children to learn, to grow, and to understand their commitment to giving back to the community that has given them so much.”