Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that protective film would be installed on the school first-floor glass windows if an upcoming bond measure is passed by voters. The film has not yet been installed.
On March 27, York Elementary School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new location.
Originally at 1813 S. Scenic Ave, the 100+ year old building has been replaced with a new building at 2100 W. Nichols Ave. The 58,000-square-foot building serves students in grades K-5 and was constructed at a cost of about $19.7 million.
In April 2019, voters in Springfield approved Proposition S, which allows Springfield Public Schools to renovate school buildings. With a majority of the projects completed, this allowed remaining funds to be used on additional projects with one of them being the construction of York Elementary.
The former York, constructed in 1911, faced several issues over the years and a decision was made that constructing a new building was more feasible than renovating the old one. Shondra Fetter, principal of York Elementary, said the old building had “safety and security concerns for both students and staff.”
She added: “The HVAC system was not working properly despite numerous repairs. There were exposed electrical wires flooding in the basement, plumbing and roofing issues and there was not an elevator to access the second floor,” said Fetter.
Fetter, who is in her first year as principal for the school, formerly was a 5th-grade teacher at York for five years. She left the school district to get some experience in administration and then came back.
Features of the building include a gymnasium/safe room as well as enhanced school security and accessibility options.
Additional security measures could be added depending on the outcome of the upcoming April 4 Proposition S vote. Protective film covering would be installed on first-floor glass windows across the building. The covering makes them shatter proof as a security measure. “You can’t penetrate it. You can shatter it, but it won’t cave in so nobody can get inside,” said Teresa Bledsoe, director of communications for SPS.