LAKEVIEW — When school begins again next fall, elementary students will again be attending Lakeview Elementary School, but in a new building.
The Lakeview Community Schools Board of Education voted Monday to rename Bright Start Elementary School in order to reflect the building’s new purpose as the district’s only elementary school.
Built just over a decade ago, Bright Start has in recent years stood vacant due to declining enrollment. When originally constructed, the building was to house lower elementary students, with upper elementary kids attending the older Lakeview Elementary. It served that purpose for only a few years before being temporarily mothballed.
This fall the renovated and greatly expanded Bright Start will be home for all Lakeview’s public elementary school children. The older elementary school will be torn down, with the exception of that building’s gymnasium, which will still be used for physical education classes.
According to Superintendent Kyle Hamlin, the name change not only brings the school more in line with the middle and high schools, but also offers several advantages from an administrative and business point of view.
“From a business standpoint it’s much better for the district (to change the name),” Hamlin said. “It requires a lot less work. In the state’s eyes, Bright Start is closed. Since Lakeview Elementary is currently in existence and current reports for kids being transferred will continue to exist, it’s better for the budget.”
Hamlin noted the name change probably would not have taken place if Bright Start had been named in honor of an individual, like a former teacher or athlete. Even so, he and the board were cautious about making the change.
At February’s meeting, Hamlin had asked board members to conduct an informal poll of village residents. Additionally, the school system placed an informal survey on Facebook and other social media sites asking for input. Of 173 responses to that survey, 166 — 96 percent — expressed either no opinion or were OK with the name change.
“Most people didn’t seem to care much one way or the other,” Hamlin said. “It’s not named after a person and there’s no real historical component to it. So when we reopen in the fall, it will be as Lakeview Elementary.”
Work has been going on at the former Bright Start since last October and 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 were the purchase of 12 new school buses and upgrade in infrastructure and technology throughout the school system.
According to Lakeview Village Manager James Freed, the improvements at the school are just one part of a larger village-wide effort to make Lakeview more attractive to new residents and businesses.
Soon to be completed improvements at the former 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.
“We should be ‘getting the keys’ in July,” Hamlin said. “After that we’ll start moving everything over.”