Student and teacher watch the demolition of Peeler Elementary School: “You can’t help but be emotional”



GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) – Watching the teams tear up bricks and sheet metal, violin teacher Marta Richardson shows the location of the music room at Peeler Elementary School.

“It was lovely and it was sweet,” she said.

Now a teacher at Bluford Peeler STEAM Academy, Richardson said she looks forward to a new chapter for the East Greensboro families surrounding the school.

“It’s going to be absolutely gorgeous,” she said.

Teams began demolishing the abandoned school on Friday. Peeler was damaged in a 2018 EF-2 tornado.

Peeler was originally slated to be demolished next year, but it caught fire last month, which sped up the timeline.

“It’s a bit overwhelming, I’ve spent all these years, but I’m glad that at least something is happening because at least other students can come, and they can have the same memories as me.” said Athena Ward, now a 10th grade student at the Weavers Academy.

Ward started his music career at Peeler and graduated from the school in 2016.

“I learned to read a staff and play the great sounding recorder like all fourth and fifth graders do,” she recalls.

“You can’t help but be moved about a place where you have taught for almost 20 years, where you have put your heart and loved your students and where you have seen amazing things happen in the building. Richardson said.

Guilford County Schools’ operations director Michelle Reed said the future Hampton Peeler School of Art will accommodate about 700 students from kindergarten to grade five.

“It will be a magnetic school, anyone can come here, it will be integrated into the Peeler neighborhood, so we expect the community to adopt the school and bring children from the community here, but also to d ‘other communities. so they will come to this neighborhood and see if the vibrant neighborhood really starts to thrive, ”she said on Friday.

“You can explore, you know if you want to draw, you want to dance, if it’s something you want to do in the future, you can do something really good with those skills,” Ward said.

District officials hope the school will serve as a catalyst for growth in east Greensboro with play gardens and other spaces for the community.

The demolition is part of a $ 300 million bond referendum approved by voters last year. The school itself will cost around $ 33 million.

The current building is expected to open in 2024.



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