WATERLOO — Now that students and teachers have settled into the new Lowell Elementary School, a public grand opening event will be held Thursday.
People can visit the school at 1707 Williston St. from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Student-led tours will be offered for attendees and a brief formal program is planned at 6:30 p.m. in the commons.
“If somebody would like to come and see what our new building looks like they are welcome to,” said Principal Carrie Heinzerling. “It is open to everybody.”
The school opened Jan. 6 following an 18-month construction process. The original Lowell Elementary, parts of which were nearly 90 years old, was closed after a portion of the roof collapsed in February 2019. Eventually, Waterloo Community Schools’ officials decided to tear down the school and rebuild it.
Students and staff were relocated to buildings owned by Central Rivers Area Education Agency on Cedar Heights Drive in Cedar Falls until the new school was completed.
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During the first week of classes in the new Lowell, an open house was held for the families of students. Heinzerling said the school is now preparing to welcome the public through its doors.
“We are actually working with several groups of students that are going to be tour guides on that evening,” she said, a mix of third- through fifth-graders involved with the Leader in Me program.
A group of kindergarten through second-grade students will sing a song during the program at 6:30 p.m. Former teacher and Lowell Hall of Fame member Donna Huff is one of several speakers who will be part of the program. There will also be a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
WATCH NOW: Families visit Lowell Elementary as they celebrate students’ homecoming
Heinzerling said students and staff are “totally enjoying the new building.” Some of that is because they’ve gotten back to spaces that weren’t available to them in their temporary school. In other cases, they’ve now got spaces that weren’t even included in the old Lowell, such as the grade level common areas outside of many classrooms.
Not all work has been completed at the school and its grounds. Since it opened in the winter, the playgrounds are not finished yet.
“They hope to have the playground equipment up as soon as they can before the end of the school year,” she noted. Additionally, “we’re working with the Iowa State Extension office to put garden beds in.” Teachers will likely to be able to use them with their students before the end of the year and they will also be part of summer programming.
A 12-classroom preschool wing is not yet open and construction was still underway there during spring break. It’s not scheduled to open until next fall, but Heinzerling reported that builders said work is nearing completion.
If construction is finished by Thursday, people will be able to tour that area. “If not, we’ll keep the doors closed,” she said.