Beneath a haze of smoke from the raging fires in several regions surrounding the city of Coeur d’Alene, a crowd of more than 200 gathered for the dedication of the new Winton Elementary School on Lacrosse Ave.
Coeur d’Alene School District leaders and teachers of the new school began the dedication with members of the local VFW raising the American flag. A student from the school sung the Star Bangled Banner as the attending audience — filled with former students, community members, and former and current educators — stood with their hands over their hearts. Principal Karen Troxel began the dedication with words about the project that had encompassed the past school year. “Schools are such a special place for our community,” she said.
The Winton Special Chorus sang two songs during the celebration.
Winton students during the 2013-2014 school year were sent to Hayden Elementary during the demolishing and building of a new school. The old school was built in 1928.
“The space — that has got to be the most amazing part. That, and the technology,” said Winton librarian Beth Dare, who worked at the old school for 20 years.
Ready for the upcoming school year which begins Sept. 8, the new school features 40 security cameras, high windows, safety glass at the entrance and a playground just behind the building. The previous building’s playground sat past the parking lot of the school.
The halls are lit with LED lighting. High efficiency natural gas and heat pumps and classroom sinks are now a part of the school. Tablets, wireless internet, a computer lab and ceiling-mounted wireless projectors are some of the technology included in the new Winton Elementary. The cost of the project was $7.4 million.
The money for the project came from a $32.7 million bond that passed in 2012.
The school’s capacity is 475 students. Coeur d’Alene Superintendent Matt Handelman expects Winton will host 400 students this school year in grades K-5.
Math teacher Greg Bollinger of Lake City High School (a feeder of Winton) said during the open house: “The stability that Winton brings about for the kids, them knowing they are going to be here for the next five years, them having stability that they may not have at home.”