When the Village School opens its doors on the first day of school Sept. 7, it will be with a new look and some new faces.
And most exciting: sixth-graders will be back in the building.
The Village has undergone a major renovation that started in December 2008 and is set to wrap up before school starts. Teachers will begin setting up their classrooms Aug. 23.
"It started as a renovation project to replace an ailing boiler and heating system," said Principal Mike Hanna. "But we also had to replace duct work, ceiling tiles, doors and windows. There were a lot of interior and exterior pieces that needed to be updated."
The project was budgeted for $21.7 million and should come in about $1 million less than that, according to Amy Drinker of the Village Building Oversight Committee.
Drinker said the project is in its final stages, but "as we identify any extra details, we'll make sure those are completed."
The sixth grade -- which moved to the Veterans Middle School during the rehab work -- is returning to the Village.
"It will be wonderful to have the entire school community under one roof again," Hanna said. "It will really be impactful for student achievement."
Hanna is planning an open house and public tour of the school in late September or early October.
"We're really going to soar this year, being in this renovated space," he said.
In other news, the Village is growing its Spanish curriculum and has hired a full-time Spanish teacher.
"We'll have a more robust and authentic Spanish program now," Hanna said. Alexandra Matson just received her M.Ed from Penn State and will teach sixth graders Spanish twice a week.
Other new Village School teachers/faculty include:
Jocelyn Costa, fifth/sixth grade special education for academic skills
Maureen Kavanaugh, sixth grade special education for language-based disabilities
Sarah Watson, fourth/fifth grade special education for language-based disabilities
Charesah Hawkes, fifth grade inclusion
Norah McCaron, school psychologist