Howbert celebrates new addition with open house

During a pre-open house assembly, students react happily upon hearing their former principal, David Morris (now at Trailblazer), was visiting Howbert Elementary for its addition open house Jan. 29.
Westside Pioneer photo
       An estimated 75 to 100 people dropped by Howbert Elementary Jan. 29 to check out its new 4,780-square-foot addition and other improvements that were completed just before this semester.
       At an all-school assembly prior to the open house, Principal Gail Smartt and Board of Education President Tom Strand said they were pleased with the results of the $1.2 million project.
       “We're so proud of you,” Strand told the students, grinning. “We've upgraded your facilities so you can learn better, and when you're older you can take care of us.”
       Afterward, students in the school's Spirit and Service Club led individuals and small groups of visitors through the addition. A popular item is the new interactive white board, a computerized unit which basically take the place of the traditional chalkboard, in each of the four new classrooms.
       “It's wonderful, and the kids are so excited about it,” said Jan Tanner, another board member who attended the open house. Standing in the school media center, which got a major remodel as part of the project (including new cabinets where seldom-used steps had once taken up room), she added, “Who knew you could get so much space in here?”

Mary Grace Mitchell (left) and Clara Thompson were among the Howbert students leading visitors on tours through the new school's new space.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Smartt noted that Jan. 29 was Fancy Dress Day at Howbert, and pictures of each of the school's classes that were taken that day would be added to a 25-year time capsule that will be assembled this semester and sealed at its end. “Howbert kids will open it 25 years from now,” Smartt told the students at the assembly, “and if you're still here, you can come.”
       Serving mainly the Pleasant Valley area, Howbert is at 1023 N. 31st St.
       Along with the four new classrooms and media center work, the project included improved handicapped playground access, added parking, roofing upgrades and painting.
       Construction was prompted by District 11's school reutilization study last year, which resulted in the closure of several D-11 schools. Howbert took in about 40 students from Whittier Elementary after it was closed.

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