BATH — Revere fourth-grade teacher Molly Brittain teaches fourth-graders in the same third-floor Bath Elementary School classroom she learned in as a fourth-grader more than 20 years ago.

"It's emotional. This is a just a landmark in our community, and people are gonna be sad to see it go,” said Brittain, 31, of Bath. "But it's bittersweet. It's time.”

Brittain was one of dozens of community members who gathered at the school Wednesday to share and reflect on 96 years of memories ahead of its planned demolition this summer.

“We've heard from the community that people want to come in, they want to walk the building, they want to take pictures, they want to reminisce,” Revere Superintendent Matthew Montgomery said.

Built in 1923, Bath Elementary originally housed kindergarten through 12th grade. Fourth- and fifth-graders currently attend Bath, but third-graders will be added when the new 87,000-square-foot elementary school being constructed behind the existing school at West Bath and North Cleveland-Massillon roads opens.

Brittain, a 2005 Revere graduate in her ninth year at Bath Elementary, said she’ll miss the character of the building and memories at the school, including those of teachers who inspired her to join the profession. But she won’t miss the stairs to the third floor, which teachers call the “penthouse,” or the lack of air conditioning, with classrooms hitting 94 degrees in the summer.

“We've outgrown this building," she said. "We've used all of the nooks and crannies for as long as we can.”

Jackie Pierson Ross, 72, of Cuyahoga Falls, started attending Bath Elementary as a first-grader in 1952 and was at the school until fifth grade. The 1964 Revere graduate, whose father attended the school and whose grandmother worked in the school kitchen, recalled fond memories of her time there.

Ross contracted polio at 10 months old and wore a brace until she was in fourth grade, but her classmates were always supportive and never teased her.

“It was a close-knit group,” she said. “We kind of all grew up together.”

Ross came Wednesday to say goodbye to the school. She’s not looking forward to the demolition.

“It's been here for oh so long ... I hope they make something not too modern,” she said of the new school.

The three-story section of the new school will be academic wings, with 10 classrooms per floor surrounding extended learning areas at the center. The two-story section will include an administrative wing, music department, gymnasium, kitchen, cafeteria/stage, STEM lab, media center and art area.

Bath Elementary is set to open at the start of the 2019-20 school year, which will be delayed two weeks, starting after Labor Day to allow more time for construction.

Along with the construction of a new Bath Elementary, the district is also building a new high school and transportation facility and renovating the existing middle school and Richfield — formerly Hillcrest — Elementary. The total $79.4 million project is a result of the passage of a $68.2 million bond issue in November 2016.

Construction on the new 200,000-square-foot high school, located near the existing high school on Everett Road, is still in the early stages, with the building pad and elevator shaft recently completed and steel beams coming in this week. Part of the current high school, a 28,000-square-foot area known as the 95 wing, will be kept and attached to the new building, which is slated to open for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Renovations at Richfield Elementary — from June to late fall — and the middle school — starting early in 2020 — include LED lights, drop ceilings, new HVAC systems and updated safety and security initiatives. The new transportation facility is set to open by the end of 2019.

Another round of farewell tours is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Bath Elementary. Once the school year is over, the school will be shut down for abatement and demolition this summer, so Saturday’s tour is likely the last chance for the community to get a look inside.

Bath Elementary's Dan Fry, who is in his ninth year as principal, said students and staff have enjoyed watching the new building going up feet away from their current building, but he said many will be sad to leave the old school.

“I think everybody knows that it's time. They all know that the building's almost 100 years old. They've got their money's worth out of it, I think,” he said. “But it's still definitely a part of their history, and they're gonna probably shed a tear when it comes down.”

 

Contact Emily Mills at 330-996-3334, emills@thebeaconjournal.com and @EmilyMills818.