Welcoming the future

First Posted: 1/11/2015

BATH TOWNSHIP — A long process for Bath Local Schools has finally come to an end with shiny new results.

As residents, families, teachers, construction workers, board members, students, parents and everyone in between filled the new gymnasium of Bath Elementary School on Sunday to express their appreciation and excitement for the future.

The nearly $23.5 million building began construction in June 2013 and was finally open to the public in this month.

Bath’s Building Committee went to other elementary schools in the region, they were looking at features of those schools that would benefit the final product such as details such as tiling and types of brick for the cafeteria.

“All along in this process, it’s been exciting to see how construction has changed and how the image of the building has changed and I had a pretty good idea of what it would look like when it was finished,” Bath Superintendent Dale Lewellen said, adding his excitement built as the final construction day approached.

Bids for the project came in low initially, Lewellen said, giving the potential for upgrades throughout the entire project. Not only were there discussions internally about updates, but Lewellen said Bath schools made it a priority to be transparent with the community about upgrades, “to make sure we make good decisions about this project,” he said.

Chris Renner, principal for Bath Elementary, carefully looked at each aspect of the new building and weighed the decisions heavily, Lewellen said.

“He painstakingly put groups of teachers together and gathered their input and allowed them to hash it out and they made consensus decisions. That went on for the last 20 months,” Lewellen said.

These gatherings of teachers, orchestrated by Renner, were all done after hours, Lewellen said. “I just can’t say enough about the work he’s done.”

“There’s just been so many people that have worked together that have made this almost the perfect building for this community,” he said.

Saturday, the old Bath Elementary School was open to the public, allowing residents, former students, or anyone who wanted to come and reminisce about the old days.

“I haven’t heard a bad word about this building,” Lewellen said. “I’m just really glad to be a part of it.”

Lewellen said there are no immediate plans to build a new building in the district, “I think for now we’ll just enjoy the day.”