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New School Opens

Tuesday was the first day of school and an introduction to a state-of-the-art building for 750 students.

<pc>Photo by Seth Rosen/The Connection

<cl>Though construction began in February 2004, crews were still putting the finishing touches on the building during the first day of school.

<bt> While students across Arlington returned to school Tuesday to a new set of teachers, subjects and classmates, the 750 pupils of Kenmore Middle School were also introduced to their new state-of-the-art building.

The new school can accommodate up to 850 students and was built on the site of the previous building. The new facility is almost 206,200 square feet and costed more than $36 million, including the demolition of the former building. Construction began in February 2004.

“It’s bigger and looks so much better than the old building,” said Joselyn Carballo, a sixth-grader.

As the students assembled in the cafeteria to meet their new teachers, construction crews were still working on the school’s gym and facade. Despite the confusing maze of concrete barriers, bulldozers and fences, which left many unsure of how to enter the school grounds, most lauded the design.

“What I’ve seen is a major improvement,” said Courtney Angelakos, a counselor for the seventh grade. “The school looks beautiful and the kids are happy to be back,”

The building's architecture is similar to adjacent Carlin Springs Elementary School, creating a larger campus environment.

Kenmore Middle School’s curriculum places a special emphasis on arts and communication technology and incorporates dance, drama, music and technology into classroom activities.

The new facility houses a blackbox theater and dance and broadcast studios, said Shauna Dyer, coordinator for the school’s art and communication technology program. It also provides an abundance of space and natural light to showcase student artwork.

“We’re all very excited,” Dyer said. “Our old broadcast studio was out of a closet.”

<1b>— Seth Rosen