A new start for Johnson Elementary School

     The previous Johnson Elementary School building was 93 years old. And for those 93 years, the school saw additions, but no major renovations, which led to the school beginning to fall apart.

     Senior Ravi McKim who attended all of his elementary school years at Johnson commented on the state of the building.

     “[It was] kind of a mess. They did not have air conditioning systems so it always got a little hot in there. It would always make me feel a little sick because of it. It also wasn’t a very pleasing building to look at.” 

     The building may have been falling apart, but there was a sort of a charm to it. 

     Junior Lela Grillot looked back on the old Johnson building.

     “I know it was not up to code but I liked the weird aesthetics of it, it was kind of comforting how weird and strange it was.

     Looking back on the building, it was clear it wasn’t planned to accommodate as many students as it does now. The school originally was just one building, after they added on a separate building for the gym and another section of the school for classrooms and cafeteria. The first building was turned into a library and held classrooms for third and fifth graders, while the other building was for students in kindergarten, first, second, and fourth grade, as well as some preschoolers. 

     Luckily for all the students and people who had to look at the building, it was torn down, and after around three years of construction, has been replaced with a brand new building.

     The design fits the residential area it’s located in, and the interior is beautiful.

     From bright new halls to a new gym, and a cafeteria finally large enough for all its students. 

     Grillot commented on how she felt about the building.

     “I thought it was really nice, it’s clean and new. It’s probably safer and it’s nicer for the elementary schoolers. “ 

     Assistant Principal at Johnson Elementary School, Kristina Sheehy, has only been at Johnson Elementary for two years, but was aware of the building’s previous issues. 

     “I’ve seen pictures and I’ve heard about it, and it seems to be a big difference from our new building, it’s a definite upgrade.” 

     That upgrade means everything to students and staff at Johnson.

     Sheehy continued her discussion of the new building.

     “It is beautiful, a lot of our kids have said it feels like home. It looks like a house from the outside because it’s part of the community and the neighborhood that we’re in. I really like the features for collaboration throughout the building. And a lot of our rooms have a wall that can be opened so that the two rooms can collaborate and do projects together, which is definitely a unique feature.

     For McKim, the school was a nice improvement. 

     “I have seen the outside, although I have not seen the inside. The outside looks pretty nice, although it could be a little much for an elementary school, but [overall] it’s nice.”

     There are some favorite parts for staff and students. 

     Sheehy shared her favorite parts of the school.

     “I would say the cafeteria, because when they were in trailers, and definitely last year because of covid, the kids had to eat in their classrooms. So, the kids are excited to have a cafeteria, and some of our kids have never even walked in a hallway, so, walking in a hallway is exciting. I would say our library is just a key feature in the school, along with the gym, and the social steps, where all the kids kind of hang out before school, it’s like the hub of the school.” 

     Parents, staff, and especially students, are lucky to have such an improved school. It has improved in every sector that a school could improve on. It’s truly impressive what they were able to accomplish, despite the added challenges. Overall. many think that it is a gorgeous school, with a homey feel to it, that invites you in and makes you happy to be there.