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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Jeremy Wattley Jr., 5, finds his desk at Croninger Elementary’s open house with his parents, Jeremy and Misty, and his sister Amira, 3.

A fresh start at Croninger

Renovations, with a TV studio, brighten school

Amid the swarms of parents and children, one blonde little girl came up quietly to Carrie Kennedy on Sunday and asked where the first-grade classroom was now located.

Kennedy directed the girl down the hall, and within a few seconds a few more children were hugging Kennedy’s legs.

Then another girl was climbing up on a small ledge behind her, which was the makings of a new display case at Croninger Elementary School.

“No, no,” said Kennedy, the principal at Croninger, gently lifting the girl off the ledge. “We don’t climb on that.”

As the girl scampered off, Kennedy said: “We’ll have glass over that soon.”

Last year, the halls of Croninger, 6700 Trier Road, were like a mine.

There were no ceiling tiles, and everything was so dimly lit that people who came inside had to ask if the school was actually open or if classes were really in session, Kennedy said.

Today, though, as the students file in for their first day of class, they’ll be treated to bright hallways that seem large compared to last year, new paint, a newly restructured office that provides more security, new flooring and a new state-of-the-art TV studio.

Sunday, parents and students were welcome to see renovations done to the school and to learn their way around, especially since some classrooms were moved and things were changed.

“Kids are already anxious on the first day, anyway,” Kennedy said.

And the school’s staff and teachers are ready for their first day, as well, even if they’re a little anxious too, according to Kennedy.

There are still a few finishing touches to be put on the school here and there, like glass over a few of the ledges built to be display cases.

But the school has come so far, even in the past week or so.

In fact, Kennedy said that boxes and furniture began to arrive at the school around Tuesday of last week, and teachers came in to set up everything they needed, bulletin boards or whatever they wanted in their classrooms.

And the boxes, according to Kennedy, seemed to be everywhere.

“It was just like when you move into a house,” she said.

The house, though, is built.

And as of this morning, it awaits only its little residents.