CINCINNATI, Ohio—Travel west on Galbraith Road from the Kenwood Towne Center, cross Blue Ash Road, and you cannot miss the brand new mirrored glass and fresh asphalt of the new state-of-the-art Amity Elementary.
A building that has stood since the Roosevelt administration, Amity has a fresh new look that—while boasting the latest in school technology—does not ignore the history that comes with a nearly 150-year timeline.
“It’s evident when you first walk in the building,” Amity Principal Mark Smiley said. “Inside of the entrance, you’ll find a huge timeline dating back to a one-room school building in the 1800s. You’ll see a bell that has been in the district for almost a hundred years. We wanted to make sure we incorporated the rich tradition of Deer Park, while providing a 21st century educational experience to our students.”
It’s been more than 22 months since the Amity Project kicked off, and on Friday, August 31, Deer Park Schools officially cut the ribbon on a $25 million renovation and addition that was funded through a bond levy which was passed by the community of Deer Park in November of 2016.
Students began classes last week, entering the brand new facility, which included a full renovation to the existing structure, a new library/media center, ADA compliant entrances and elevator, a new gymnasium and stage, extended learning areas and a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) classroom.
The facility is equipped with some of the best technological education tools available including multiple 3D Printers, VR Headsets, 1 to 1 computers, and multiple classroom robotic programming kits—all used to prepare Deer Park students for careers in the 21st Century from the very start of their education.
In the coming months, a $40,000 grant from the Hatton Foundation will be used to construct a playground which will be inclusive for students with disabilities.
“All in all, we couldn’t be happier with the start of the school year and the opportunities afforded to our students in this new building,” Smiley said. It was a tough school year last year, as our students and staff worked in what amounted to an active construction site. This year, we collected the payoff, and it was awesome to watch our students experience this building for the first time.”
The project was completed in just 22 months thanks to HGC Construction—the project's general contractor, SHP Leading Design—the project's architect, and countless subcontractors, a bond committee, building design committee, and many others who had a hand in the project.
“We are so thankful to the contractors, architects, and our committees for the thousands of hours put into the planning and execution of this project,” Deer Park Superintendent Jay Phillips said. “A project on this scale cannot be done without a tremendous amount of people, and every one of them played an instrumental role in what you see today.”
Though the ribbon is cut and school is in session, it was notable alum Bill Cunningham—the master of ceremonies for the ribbon cutting—who said it best:
“We cannot properly dedicate this school,” Cunningham said. “The parents can’t do it. The teachers can’t do it. The administration can’t do it. It is up to you children to dedicate this school every day of your life. Treat this school well. I’m told it will be here for 100 years. You are here at the birth of the new Amity Elementary. It’s up to you, as a student, to do this school right!”