OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Tuesday night Prairie Lane Elementary families were able to take a tour of the newly renovated building. The school, which is part of the Westside district, underwent some changes over the past few years that cost millions of dollars.
The upgrades were complete last school year and students and faculty were able to move back into the building in April, but by that time, summer break was just around the corner, not allowing them to enjoy it to its fullest potential.
Now, the Panthers will be able to start and end the school year all in one place.
"We are ecstatic. It’s great that we are moved in. We just feel like it’s a really fresh start and we’re excited to start the year and be here all year," said Belinda Westfall, Principal of Prairie Lane Elementary.
Seventy percent of the building is brand new and 30% was renovated. Parents say they're excited for their kids to be able to utilize the new space in their learning.
"I think it’ll be really cool to see how the building is used. There are so many new aspects that’ll make for a better learning experience for our kids so it’ll be awesome to see how that all plays out in the new school year. I'm really looking forward to it," said Marc Welander, a parent of two Prairie Lane Elementary students.
Westfall says the renovations will enhance the curriculum.
"Our students would tell you that they love the gym and the learning commons areas. Those are areas with flexible seating and light and our teachers and students love to go to those areas for small group reading or science experiments or they might do collaborative work together," Westfall said. "We have garage doors between each classroom so the teachers can decide when they can do flex grouping or team teaching or collaboration where kids are moving from place to place, classroom to classroom and they can close the garage doors and just have the regular conventional teaching."
The renovations were part of a bond issue that was passed in 2015. Prairie Lane was the last of five Westside schools that underwent renovations and upgrades.