Runnymede Elementary finally opens its doors

March 15, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

The bulletin boards are decorated. The name tags are neatly placed on the kindergarten cloak and belongings rack. The water runs. The toilets flush.

Runnymede Elementary School is finally open -- knock on wood.

"I can't believe we're open," said fifth-grader Starrett Esworthy of his new school as he toured the building yesterday during an open house. "All these delays, I thought the building would catch fire and blow up before we got in here."

Given Runnymede's past luck, Murphy's law should be the first lesson the children learn in school, which opens today.

A blizzard and a rainy spring last year caused the first delay of opening day.

Bad weather pushed the start date of September 1993 to January 1994.

More rain around Thanksgiving caused a month's delay, and subzero temperatures that damaged the wastewater treatment plant prevented the Feb. 3 moving day.

But it appears that this time, it's really going to happen.

"Everything's on track," said Dr. Barbara C. Walker, the principal, as she greeted parents and students during yesterday's open house at the school. "It's supposed to be 60 degrees . . . so what could go wrong?"

Well, the students could get lost.

"This school is awesome," said Starrett, wandering through one of the classroom wings. "I bet you I get lost on the first day in here."

Many agreed with his size assessment. "It's big," said third-graders Stacey Barnett and Becky Prince during the open house.

Adults, too, were in awe of the school's sparking windows, matching furniture and spacious, naturally lighted rooms.

Even the hallways brought accolades from enthusiastic parents.

"Look at the lockers," one man said to a child as they whisked through the foyer on the way to the second- and third-grade classroom wing. "Lockers, baby. Lockers!"

No one was happier than the teachers to be in the new building.

"That cafeteria was getting old," said art teacher Karen Suskie of her space in the Taneytown annex. "We couldn't do anything there, and now we're just going to bust out all over."

Ms. Suskie has nothing to complain about in her Runnymede room, complete with sinks, a soap dispenser and many paper towel dispensers lining the wall of the room, which is showered with natural light from a wall of windows.

"The teachers can't stop smiling," Ms. Suskie said. "We've been working all weekend to get ready."

Sue Reisig, the school librarian, said today's opening will jump-start the school year.

"In March, you're in the doldrums," she said. "It's almost like the first day of school for us. Everybody is rejuvenated."

"We've waited a long time to get here, and we want to continue on with our strong educational program and have as normal a day as possible," Dr. Walker said. "There have been so many interruptions to the school year already. I think it is important to get off to a solid start."

But fifth-grader David Kimmel figures the school was on solid ground long before the foundation of the Langdon Drive building was laid. "It's pretty cool, and it's really clean," said David, eyeing a bulletin board in a fifth-grade classroom. "But it's not really the building that counts. It's the education."

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