Education column: Elementary schools getting facelifts

Continuing with news from the Clovis Schools’ Operations Department and their summer activities:

The front of Barry Elementary got a facelift recently. The multi-colored rocks and plants replaced the long row of juniper trees along the front of the building. The new look is cleaner, crisper and there’s no more chance of junipers blowing over or collecting everything that blows by.

Also, a new driving and turn-around area was added to the south side of the building, making student pickup more fluid. A glance at Barry’s playground (as well as other schools’) will show the metal equipment repainted in a soft, southwest sand color.

Although bright, primary colors seem cheerful and reminiscent of school playgrounds, those darker colors chip easily and break down quickly, but more importantly become extremely hot to the touch. The light, neutral colors wear extremely well, look neat and clean and are friendly to little fingers.

Construction on the Arts Academy at Bella Vista will begin shortly, in early July. This school site will be getting a much-needed new multipurpose/performing arts center that will be located on the southwest side of the building, currently a parking lot.

On the northwest corner a new wing will house 12-14 new classrooms. In addition, the existing building will be remodeled in four stages, to make it as easy as possible for the work overlapping returning staff and students.

Drive by La Casita Elementary when you get a chance. The major construction taking place at this site is transforming this school. The new multipurpose room is taking shape, as is the structure for the new addition.

If you were to walk along the corridors inside, it would be unrecognizable; just a stripped-down skeleton of a building. The reconstruction has allowed the abatement team to comb the site to locate and remove any traces of asbestos from former days.

Work at Parkview Elementary is finished for now. Inside, the main office has been enclosed by a glass structure above the counter to improve not only energy efficiency, but also expedite more efficient communications flow. Some of the carpets have been pulled, and floors have been tiled. Shelving has been added in classrooms where needed, as well as the computer labs.

Outside, Parkview’s shade structures are up and outside LED lights have been added for strategic lighting in shadowed areas and to improve energy efficiency.

While the day-to-day maintaining and repairing of our school buildings is likely lacking in glamour, the importance of its role in supporting the framework of education is impossible to measure.

As we have just celebrated the Fourth of July, words of former president James Abram Garfield come to mind: “Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.”

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the Instructional Technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at