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Posted on Sep 7, 2017

New school year, new school facilities in George

A new era has started in George.
Gone are the portable classrooms at George Elementary School, and by the end of September, the days of the cafeteria doubling as the gymnasium will be gone, as well.
Instead, the schoolhouse has eight new classrooms, a new teachers’ workroom, a couple of new bathrooms, and all of its children are in one building. By the end of the month, it will also have a new gymnasium.
“It’s just awesome,” said Curt Schutzmann, the principal of George Elementary. “It’s just incredible.”
On the first day of school, Schutzmann stood outside the new building, grinning as he opened the door to students and parents.
“They were just so excited,” Schutzmann said. “The look on their faces as they saw the new addition and the new classrooms was pretty awesome.”
The project cost around
$7 million, said Nik Bergman, assistant superintendent for Quincy School District.
Teachers were already familiar with the new surroundings, Schutzmann said. In mid-August, the GES staff unpacked and set up the classrooms and offices. All except for one.
The finish on the gymnasium’s new paint job is not finished drying yet, so Erik Nelson, who teaches P.E. and music, still has not occupied his new office in the gym. On the other hand, George Elementary now has a brand-new music room. Last year, Nelson had to teach music in a portable room. Not that he’s complaining.
“We do a pretty good job of adapting here in George,” he said. “We got great kids and great families and that makes it a lot easier.”
The gym might open in late September, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for Oct. 10. The plan is to host a school board meeting and the ribbon-cutting on the same evening.
With wildfire smoke reaching large areas of the state, Nelson has held P.E. classes inside, in the school’s multi-use room, which last year doubled as cafeteria and gym.
This year, the gym is coming, just not yet.
“It’s getting close,” Nelson said. “They’ve got it all covered up so no one can see it. Got a peek last week with Mr. Schutzmann and it’s incredible.”
Not only will George Elementary be the first school in the district to complete its renovation, but with its new classrooms, it’s the first elementary in the district to move to a K-5 model.
“We are ahead of schedule,” Schutzmann said of the plan to have all the district’s elementary schools be K-5 by 2019. “Because of the addition, we had one classroom open, and working with Mr. Boyd (district superintendent John Boyd) and Mr. Bergman, we kept our fourth-grade class from last year as fifth-graders.”
The work inside the building may be almost done, but the work outside may last a little longer yet, said Schutzmann, although the district had made no official decision.
“I believe there might be some plans in the works for new playground equipment,” he said. “There’s been a little bit of talk, but nothing really concrete yet.”

By Sebastian Moraga, qvprsports@gmail.com

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