South Fayette dedicates new intermediate school
School administrators cut the ribbon during the grand opening ceremony. From left are director of finance Brian Tony, elementary principal, Laurie Gray, intermediate principal, Greg Wensell and director of pupil personnel Dr. Nanci Sullivan.
Deana Carpenter / The Alamanac
The new South Fayette Intermediate School.
Deana Carpenter / The Almanac
Hundreds of parents and their children didn’t seem to mind getting up early on a summer morning for the dedication and grand opening of the South Fayette Intermediate School.
The approximately $30-million, 125,000-square-foot facility opened its doors officially Saturday with a ceremony and official ribbon cutting.
The new school will house more than 670 third- through fifth-graders once school starts Aug. 21 in South Fayette. Previously, third and fourth grade was housed in the elementary school and fifth grade in the middle school. Ground was broken for the school in November 2011.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. How cool is this place!’” said rising South Fayette fifth-grader Jeff Martinsek of his first impressions of the new school.
“It was, like, really fancy,” said incoming third-grader Tommy Gealey when he first saw the school. He said he’s excited for the new school year and the Lego-themed STEAM room, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
“I’m excited,” said Caroline McKeever, who enters fourth grade this fall. She said she was most excited about the school’s cafeteria and the fact that the school is three stories tall.
Dr. Bille Rondinelli, South Fayette superintendent, said the new school and its faculty is “an example of public education done best.”
Rondinelli said the school board and administrators have “genuinely looked out for the best interest of the students.” Rondinelli asked that all students in attendance stand to be recognized and said, “You’re the reason we’re here.”
School Board President William Newcomer said the grand opening was “a long-awaited moment.” He said growth in the district has exceeded a demographer’s prediction prior to the construction of the school.
“We’ve set a level of excellence that’s been maintained,” Newcomer said of the district and its staff. “The key is what’s best for the students.”
State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, joked with the audience, asking, “How did you get this many kids here this early on a Saturday morning?”
Of the new school White said, “You have something really special here.”
“We’re here to dedicate the newest jewel on our campus,” said school board member Leonard Fornella. “The march to the top continues,” he said.
The new school’s library was later dedicated to Fornella, a lifelong township resident. He graduated from South Fayette High School in 1971 and has been a member of the district’s school board since 1980.
“This year is going to be fun,” said Greg Wentzell, principal of the new intermediate school. He said there are many great features to the new building ,including the classrooms, library and media center, rooftop garden, STEAM studios, art room and cafeteria.
“We must all continue to strive for excellence in each child every day,” Wentzell said. “I’m humbled today to be the principal of this building.”