LAKEVIEW — The story of Bright Start Elementary School is unusual and one that has been affected repeatedly by the vagaries of educational financing and population. Built over a decade ago, the school originally housed Lakeview Community Schools’ lower elementary students.
Then there was a period of years when the school was closed altogether and all elementary classes were returned to the old elementary school.
Beginning next school year, however, an expanded and renovated Bright Start will finally fulfill its purpose as the system’s primary elementary school.
On Oct. 30, about 40 people gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony at the school. Among the local dignitaries on hand were Board of Education President Ed Jonaitis, board member Jeff Kurtze and Lakeview Village Manager James Freed. Tim Marcus, who will be serving as construction site manager also was there along with Lakeview Community Schools Superintendent Kyle Hamlin.
Hamlin noted many of the reasons for reopening Bright Start, including higher than anticipated enrollment numbers and the need for an elementary school more in line with current student needs.
“At the start of the 2014-2015 school year, our elementary students will be learning, playing and growing in a more modern and efficient facility,” Hamlin said.
The school’s expansion is part of a $12.25 million bond approved by voters to address needs not met through the school system’s general operating budget. Other items covered in that millage are the purchase of 12 new school buses and upgrade in infrastructure and technology throughout the school system.
Voters in Lakeview have in the past been somewhat reluctant to pass new millage requests. Jonaitis credited the recent millage’s passage on the “Claws for the Cause” information campaign led by David King and Paul Main in the months leading up to the vote.
Even with the school’s diligent effort to get the word out about the need for the millage’s passage, it succeeded last February by a slim margin of 691 to 599.
Freed said Lakeview’s school system is one of many factors that make the town so attractive to parents.
“Lakeview’s comparative advantage, meaning what we do better than anyone else, is we are the greatest place to call home,” Freed said. “Lakeview is the greatest place to live, work and, most importantly, raise a strong family. One of the largest components to that is that moms and dads know that when they live here their children will receive a world class education.”
Improvements currently begun at Bright Start include a secure entryway, building site work, additional parking areas, an upgraded playground, eight new classrooms, new restrooms, a multi-purpose/gymnasium and numerous technology upgrades.