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New Latrobe Elementary School gets good marks during open house

Jeff Himler
| Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, 11:15 p.m.

Superintendent Judy Swigart told guests at Saturday’s dedication of the new Latrobe Elementary School that the $24.8 million two-story building will offer added value for the community.

Many parents and community members who attended the school’s open house about an hour later seemed to agree with that sentiment, expressing favorable impressions of the building and its technology.

“We live just right up the road. Going past it for all these months, you just wonder,” Susan Kosczuk of Latrobe said, reflecting on construction that lasted several months longer than expected at Ligonier and Cedar streets.

After touring the school Saturday with her son, Joey, a first-grader, she called the school “absolutely amazing. It’s so open and airy and light, and it doesn’t seem that anybody’s confined.”

District officials have noted the new school’s design features open sight lines through hallways, which also enhances security, and a balance of LED and natural lighting.

Other admirers included Latrobe resident Joyce Krznaric, who taught for 22 years and still works as a substitute at the Robert Ketterer Charter School, operated by Latrobe-based nonprofit Adelphoi. When asked if she had any family members attending the new elementary school, she said, “I wish I did now.”

Aidan and Jacob Urbanik, both 12, of Unity, explored the Latrobe school with their family, including mother Jessica, secretary of the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation that raises funds for equipment and programs at the school district. The brothers, who attend another district school, Mountain View Elementary, had fun trying out a Promethean board with help from teacher Bethany McNeil.

“It’s incredible to see the kids’ faces,” their mother said. “We’re so proud of the faculty members and the administration, to bring such an incredible school to the area. It’s very exciting.”

According to Principal Sherri Holler, students at the school, when asked to describe their favorite features of the building, mentioned the air conditioned gymnasium, the cafeteria that doubles as an auditorium and having water fountains and lockers inside classrooms.

The new school also includes a science, technology, education and mathematics, or STEM, classroom, a Center for Student Creativity that could house art shows, improved room acoustics, updated climate controls and flexible learning spaces.

The school houses about 700 students in grades K-6. It was to have opened in August, but construction delays pushed the date back to Dec. 4. It replaces an aging, century-old school five blocks away that will become the new corporate headquarters of Latrobe-based Robindale Energy Services.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

MacCauley Cravener, 8, left, and stepbrother Cash Achhammer, 10, both of Latrobe, draw figures on a Promethean interactive board in a STEM classroom during a Dec. 15, 2018, open house at the new Latrobe Elementary School they attend.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
MacCauley Cravener, 8, left, and stepbrother Cash Achhammer, 10, both of Latrobe, draw figures on a Promethean interactive board in a STEM classroom during a Dec. 15, 2018, open house at the new Latrobe Elementary School they attend.
Principal Sherri Holler (in orange jacket) greets a visitor during a Dec. 15, 2018, open house at the new Latrobe Elementary School.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Principal Sherri Holler (in orange jacket) greets a visitor during a Dec. 15, 2018, open house at the new Latrobe Elementary School.
Joey Kosczuk, 6, of Latrobe, a first-grader at the new Latrobe Elementary School, admires pottery in an art room showcase while joined by his mother, Susan, during a Dec. 15, 2018, open house at the school.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Joey Kosczuk, 6, of Latrobe, a first-grader at the new Latrobe Elementary School, admires pottery in an art room showcase while joined by his mother, Susan, during a Dec. 15, 2018, open house at the school.
Remy Buncie, 5, of Latrobe, who attends kindergarten at the new Latrobe Elementary School, runs across the gym floor during a Dec. 15, 2018, open house at the school.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Remy Buncie, 5, of Latrobe, who attends kindergarten at the new Latrobe Elementary School, runs across the gym floor during a Dec. 15, 2018, open house at the school.
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