|Moyer Elementary's rendering of their addition and renovation sits on the front steps of the elementary school's entrance. FTM file.|
Fast forward to April of 2017 and the progress and light at the end of the tunnel is within reach. The Kentucky School Facilities Construction Commission pledged to pay the bulk of the estimated $20 million cost in September 2014.
Fort Thomas Matters joined Superintendent Gene Kirchner, the Fort Thomas School Board, project architect, Joe Hayes, and state officials on a tour of what's been done and what's still left to do. Fort Thomas Schools Director of Operations, Jerry Wissman, led the tour.
"The new Ruth Moyer Elementary is going to be absolutely stunning," said Kirchner. "Many generations of Fort Thomas children will benefit greatly from the investment that this community has made in their future. I am so proud to have played a small role in making that happen."
School Board Chair, Brad Fennell, said that he hoped that the state would be able to see that their money was being put to good use.
"It's my hope that the state can use our our school system, not just our academic prowess, but also the beautiful facilities that we've designed and built as a showplace and as an example for the rest of the state," he said. "We've built a lot of buildings since I've been here, but the key is that we're progressively getting better. Moyer has been the culmination and it may be that Johnson will be even better."
The budgeting process for awarding state money to schools occurs in 2018, which could be the year that the district receives money for Johnson. The elementary school in the northern part of Fort Thomas is perennially one of the most archaic in terms of facilities.
At Moyer, the front part of the building, which will maintain the same facade that residents are used to, has yet to undergo construction.
The population of Moyer has ballooned from 450 students in 2011 to 521 today, which is why the school leapfrogged Johnson Elementary in terms of need. The finished product of the school will hold 550 students, which is the maximum size that the Kentucky Department of Education allows based on the school enrollment.
Standard classrooms will be about 850 square feet.
"Every classroom has its own personality," said Wissman. "To the credit of the architect. It's not just a box."
Each classroom will include "glass boards," which have been provided by the Moyer PTO and Moyer Athletic Boosters.
"Those are uniquely Fort Thomas. The latest and greatest," said Kirchner.
They come with a 50-year warranty.
The entry way, performance center and cafeteria are expansive with a high-reaching 40-foot ceiling. The stage is the center point between the gym and performance center and will provide seating on either side to accommodate large crowds. The gym has an arched ceiling, which Kirchner said they had to fight for.
"The KDE said it was an extravagant cost, but they way we saw it, with our past experiences, it was needed and very functional."
The central corridor, which has a terrazzo floor with a carefully designed pattern, is wide and overlooked by a balcony with classrooms on the second floor. There will be water fountain and water bottle stations in each room to maximize classroom time.
The first and second grade will be located on the second floor, but next year, the first grade will temporarily be in the larger resource classrooms while the rest of the building is being constructed. The third floor will house fourth and fifth grade classrooms.
There will be a looped driveway around back that will lead to a playground. Wissman said that the playground equipment, which was purchased just five years ago, will be reassembled, with a few new items to be added with student input.
The tour ended in the current cafeteria to juxtapose the old versus what will be. Currently the students gets twenty minutes for lunch with a ten minute recess. Wissman noted that the upgraded facilities should allow staff to cut the preparation time in half.
Construction and renovation is on time, with furniture slated for delivery in the last week of July to give teachers a few weeks to get their classrooms organized before school is to start back in August of 2017.
|The front lawn has become the school's recess play field while the construction in the back of the building is taking place. FTM file.|
|The back part of the new building was matched perfectly to the front. FTM file.|
|The Fort Thomas School Board (L to R): John Weyer, Karen Allen, Jeff Beach, Lisa Duckworth and Brad Fennell (Chair).|
|Wissman leading the tour. FTM file.|
|The central corridor. To the left is the balcony overlooking the hallway. There will be a 42-inch wire-mesh "guard rail." The music room is on the right. FTM file.|
|High-arched ceilings in the performance center. FTM file.|
|Windows drench the performance room in light. The kitchen facilities are straight ahead. FTM file.|
|From the performance center, looking to the stage (center) and through into the gym. FTM file.|
|Architect, Joe Hayes, points out at a lot of decorative wood will adorn the walls. FTM file.|
|Kirchner and Fennell. FTM file.|
|Entering the gym. The area has been a staging area for construction equipment. The gym floor is slated for delivery soon. FTM file.|
|Three large windows give light to the gym. FTM file.|
|Board members look on. FTM file.|
|A service road over looks "The Great Wall of Moyer" -- a large retaining wall that lines James Avenue. FTM file.|
|The playground will sit here. FTM file.|
|The playground. FTM file.|
|Opposite view of the gym. FTM file.|
|A second grade classroom. FTM file.|
|The glass board will sit (left). The cluster of outlets will be where the teachers' desks will sit. FTM file.|
|More classrooms. FTM file.|
|The central corridor. The gym is to the left. A bathroom to the right. FTM file.|
|Stairs leading up. FTM file.|
|Third floor hall. FTM file.|
|View from third floor. FTM file.|
|The current cafeteria. FTM file.|