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Rowe School to hold open house Sunday

The new school in Rowe on Wednesday. Recorder/Micky Bedell

The new school in Rowe on Wednesday. Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

ROWE — It was two years ago this month when a lightning-induced fire destroyed the 50-year-old Rowe Elementary School. But on Sunday, the town’s schoolchildren and community will gather to celebrate the opening of the new Rowe Elementary School, which begins its first full day of school on Wednesday .

The ceremony starts at 4 p.m., at the school, at 86 Pond Road, on the site of the original building.

“In addition to short speeches from some of the people who have been involved in the rebuilding, there will be time for visitors to tour the new building, as well as punch and cake for all,” Principal Bill Knittle said.

Among those who’ll be speaking are School Building Committee Chairwoman Susan Zavotka, Knittle, School Committee Chairwoman Lisa Danek-Burke, new Rowe Superintendent Jonathan Lev, Selectmen’s Chairwoman Marilyn Wilson, architect Chip Greenberg and school building Project Manager Dan Pallotta of T-3 Construction.

Knittle said the participants will be invited into the school building; most of the school staff will be inside, in their respective classrooms, to answer questions and greet visitors.

Built on insurance proceeds from the school fire — and without any state School Building Assistance money — construction on the $6.9 million school building began December 2013. Designed by Greenberg Associates Architects, the building has four classrooms, a separate Projects Room, a special education wing, administrative offices, a faculty area, cafeteria/community room, and a spacious gymnasium. The school was built by DEW/MacMillan Construction Co. of Vermont, according to Knittle.

The fire not only displaced the schoolchildren, but the town has had to hold its annual and special town meetings inside the Fire Station ever since. With the opening of the new school, this town of roughly 400 people will be able to hold its meetings and special events in the community room.

The projected enrollment this year is 60 students, with 32 coming from Rowe and the rest coming through School Choice.

Instead of a Verizon landline, Rowe School will have Internet-based phone service, taking advantage of its high-speed Internet access. The new telephone number is expected to be working by Friday. The number is: 413-512-5100.

For the last two years, the Rowe School students have shared the Hawlemont Regional School building with Hawlemont schoolchildren. Rowe moved its school furnishings out of the Hawlemont building in June.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbroncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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