Wallins renovation exciting for students, staff alike

With Wallins Elementary School’s project nearing the final stages of its completion in the coming months, students and staff alike are already in love with the new addition — securing education in the Wallins community for years to come.

Principal Stan Nicely said one of the biggest things he enjoys most about the new addition to the elementary school is the enhanced safety it offers to students.

“In the old building, as soon as you got through the front door you had access to the entire building,” he said. “Now, in this building, you have to come through the office, so you don’t have immediate access to everything.”

Nicely said although he and others loved the old building and the rich history it help preserve in Wallins, it is exciting to upgrade from coal heat and other simple amenities to better safety, newer technology and comfort for his students.

With students and staff only recently getting to explore their new space, Nicely said everyone entering the building is in awe of the openness of the lobby area, amount of light flooding the halls and new-and-improved classrooms to help further the success of a child’s education, while still having the home-like atmosphere they’re used to in the old building.

“It’s brighter and little happier and more pleasant when you come in now,” he said.

Teachers are also enjoying their new classrooms that have more space than the old ones, including upgraded Smart Boards, new phones and intercoms and other conveniences faculty and staff were not able to enjoy before.

Nicely said he’s talked to some individuals in the community as demolition of the old building progressed, noting although it was sad to watch a piece of the community’s history being torn down, the new building helps ensure the school will still be here for the community and future generations.

“Everyone’s been very supportive, and that helps. It’s been about as smooth of a process as construction can be,” he said. “It’s been messy at times, but the community has always been supportive of their school.”

The $6.593 million addition includes classrooms, an office suite with administrative and counselor’s office, nurse’s office, and Family Resource and Youth Service Center.

The project razed the 75-year-old main building which opened in 1945 and allowed for renovations of the newer additions constructed in the 1980s.

Wallins Elementary School was also the only school building in the state using a coal-fired furnace, making it virtually impossible to secure replacement parts when it malfunctioned.

Administration is now looking forward to summer, planning a grand opening for the completion of the project some time in August.