Clark-Shawnee students, staff in old buildings for last time; new building opens in fall

Preschool students at Rockway Elementary School wave to an ELMO character from the bus windows as they leave Rockway for the last time Tuesday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Preschool students at Rockway Elementary School wave to an ELMO character from the bus windows as they leave Rockway for the last time Tuesday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Rockway principal says ‘it’s kind of bittersweet’ ahead of move into new elementary.

Tuesday was the last day students and staff were in the old Clark-Shawnee Local School District buildings.

All students and staff from Rockway, Reid and Possum elementary schools will be in the district’s new building starting in fall for the 2021-22 school year.

The district’s new elementary building is set to open in the fall for preschool through sixth grades.

Rockway Elementary Principal Mandy Shaffer said “it’s kind of bittersweet” when it comes to being at the school for the last time.

“I’m excited about being in the new building but this is a great building and a great district,” Shaffer said. “I’m going to miss the smallness of Rockway. I know every student and I know every parent just about and it’s definitely a community and that’s something I’ll miss a lot.”

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Shaffer said she’s been in all three buildings as a student and as an administrator and teacher.

“That’s kind of cool. Not many people can say that they have done that, so it’s exciting but it’s sad at the same time,” she said.

Students at Reid were displaced in February after the district discovered a structural issue at the school that caused the building to close. The students were housed in different schools - Kindergarten Village, Rockway and Possum - for the rest of the year since they did not resume operations at Reid.

“On behalf of the teachers, support staff, and administration, I extend the district’s sincere gratitude for the support, patience, and flexibility our families have demonstrated during this turbulent year. We are all looking forward to next year when things will hopefully feel more normal,” Superintendent Brian Kuhn said in a release.

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The new elementary school will be across the street from Shawnee High School, which was renovated.

Clark-Shawnee held a groundbreaking ceremony in October 2018 to kick off construction of their $52 million pre-K through sixth grade school building.

Voters approved a $37 million bond issue in August 2017 to build a new elementary school and renovate the middle/high school. The bond issue was for 5.3 mills for 37 years and will cost the owner of a $100,000 home a little more than $15 a month. The state will cover about 30%, or $15 million, of the cost of the project.

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