The Avon Grove Charter School Early Learning Center, otherwise known as the "happiest place on earth," according to the school's dedicated staff and faculty, opened in time for the 2008-09 school year on Tuesday.The new school will house kindergarten through second grade students, coming from the Avon Grove, Oxford Area, Octorara, Kennett Area and Coatesville School Districts.
In only 11 short months, AGCS purchased the former Kemblesville Elementary School and completed construction on the renovations, which have restored the school to standards beyond its former condition.
The school, which sat vacant for six years in the community and had become a target for vandalism, shined during last week's open house and ribbon cutting ceremony.
According to Dr. Kevin Brady, principal of AGCS, over 4,000 members of the public visited the school during the open house and expressed their community pride for the revitalized structure.
"Everyone seemed very pleased with the renovations," he said.
Brady was also honored to have teachers who were employed at the former Kemblesville elementary school in attendance during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
"It's kind of like a symbolic passing of the torch having you all here today," he said to the former teachers.
Mark Cirino, AGCS board president and founder, also said a few words on behalf of the charter school during the ceremony.
"It's amazing what can happen when you bring people together," said Cirino. "It wasn't just the charter school that made this happen, it was the township and the community. We would like to thank you for working with us and helping us to achieve our goal."
Kristen Bishop, director of the AGCS Early Learning Center, praised the charter school for its success in opening a new school in such a short time.
"[The school's officials'] dedication is amazing."
The AGCS would like to thank and recognize the following individuals and organizations that contributed to the Kemblesville Early Leaning Center project:
Franklin Township; Avon Grove School District; the Avon Grove Foundation Board of Trustees members Beth Skalish, Sean Bogda and Chris Sycalik; the Avon Grove Charter School Board of Trustees; the AGCS Strategic Planning Team and the community of Kemblesville.
The AGCS also presented the following individuals and businesses that helped plan, execute and complete the school with special plaques of appreciation: Alliance Environmental; Anchor Fire Protection; Bob Smith Contracting; Cooks Service Company; Clark Food Services Equipment; Eastern Shore Services, Inc.; T.G.W. Corporation; West Jersey Air Conditioning and Heating; Brandywine Valley Concrete Construction; Harmony Construction; Holley Enterprises; RSK Construction Management; Summit Steel, Inc.; Wallworks, Inc.; Adagio; Duffield Associates, Inc.; Traffic Planning & Design, Inc.; Latsha, Davis, Yohe & McKenna, P.C.; Riley, Riper, Hollin & Colagreco; RT Environmental Services, Inc.; and Traffic Planning & Design, Inc.
From Emory Hill and Company's Bill O'Neil and Karl Kaufmann of The Quandel Group were acknowledged for their role in the project. Karena Thurston and Matthew Heck-endorn of Hooper Shiles Architects, and AGCS staff members Ed Moseley, Gabe Neeld and Tony Durante also received acknowledgement for their roles in the school project..