Imagine going 50 years without fixing any problems with your body — no surgeries to help your organs, no cosmetic changes, not even any fillings to replace cavities. That’s almost what Arnold Elementary experienced through its first 50 years.
That all changed over the last two years, and a new building was unveiled to the community during a ceremony on August 29. Arnold Elementary teachers, staff and students were joined by community members, politicians, Board of Education members and more during the event.
Families walked the halls of the $42 million, 89,253-square-foot building for the first time. They marveled at the work done by GWWO Architects and by Jacobs Inc., which managed the construction.
The new facility increases student capacity from 456 to 565.
As Board of Education president Terry Gilleland noted, the building was sorely needed.
“Three years ago, [fellow board member] Julie Hummer and I were on a tour of the old school and the lower level was flooded and we weren’t able to finish the tour,” Gilleland said, “but both of us at the same time said, ‘They need a new school here.’
“And we are so proud that this day has finally come to fruition, but it’s come to fruition because this community fought for it,” he added. “This community did everything it needed to do to say, ‘We need a new school. We want a new school that we are proud of and a school that we know our students will learn and do very, very well in.”
As Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto explained, “buildings like this just don’t happen.” He credited past and current county executives, county councilmembers and Board of Education members for their unwavering support.
“You’re going to see that this building was designed thoughtfully for instruction, thoughtfully for teaching and learning, thoughtfully for your children,” Arlotto told the crowd.
Principal Shauna Kauffman thanked her staff as well as the team at Severn River Middle School, which housed Arnold Elementary students and staff during the two-year construction period.
After Senator Ed Reilly took a selfie with Arlotto and the crowd, Councilwoman Amanda Fiedler stepped to the podium to share how the project was especially close to her heart because she attended the school nearly 30 years ago.
“It took years of dedicated hard work from the community and your elected officials to get to this day,” Fiedler said. “You all deserve a pat on the back for your work, your dedication and being patient for this day to come.”