Community Celebrates the Opening of New Patrick Henry School and Recreation Center

The kids loved being a part of the elementary school’s official opening. (Photo: John David Coppola/The Zebra Press)

Alexandria, Va. — Community members, dance students, the Town Crier, the school’s eagle mascot, and school and city officials came together Thursday, February 7, 2019 to dedicate the new Patrick Henry School and Recreation Center at an official ribbon cutting ceremony.

School Board members and Chair CIndy Anderson, Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Mayor Justin WIlson, Council member Del Pepper, and former Mayors Euille and Silberberg joined students for the official ribbon cutting of Patrick Henry Elementary School. (Photo: John David Coppola/The Zebra Press)

Thursday’s joint dedication ceremony of the new school and recreation center is the culmination of a five-year partnership between the city and schools. The final facility includes 12,000 square feet of shared space, including a black box dance theatre, specifically designed in alignment with the school’s dance focus. Students who are already using the dance space for classes three times a week, performed to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech as part of the ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony.

Patrick Henry Elementary School Principal Ingrid Bynum welcomed friends, faculty, staff and city officials to the official opening. (Photo: John David Coppola/The Zebra Press)

“The collaboration in this project is an example of our community coming together to solve our capacity issues while bringing our buildings into line with the learning needs of the future generation. We look forward to even greater collaboration in the future,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.

Holding the ribbon for the official opening was a special honor given to this group of students at the Patrick Henry Elementary School. (Photo: John David Coppola/The Zebra Press)

The new environmentally sustainable facility is the third new school to open in Alexandria this school year. The new 136,600 square-foot school building is designed for 21st century learning with flexible learning spaces on each floor, quiet rooms for small group instruction, a black box theatre and a cafetorium with performance lighting and sound. The LEED silver building will host students from kindergarten through eighth grade, expanding capacity to 900 students from 650 students in the old school.

The school and recreation center project won final approval and funding from City Council through strong community advocacy and support from the Patrick Henry Advisory Committee.

 “This new Patrick Henry School and Recreation Center was shaped by parent, staff and community advocates who worked tirelessly to make this project happen. It takes that kind of dedication to build a school like this and now it is our turn to say thank you to our community,” said School Board Chair Cindy Anderson.

City Manager Mark Jinks at the podium discussion the five-year effort of city and school board collaboration for this project’s completion. (Photo: John David Coppola/The Zebra Press)

City Manager Mark Jinks said, “It was once said that it takes a village to raise a child. That village includes residents, elected officials, administrators, planners, architects, engineers and construction trades workers who plan a school, and build a building, that supports the teachers, who teach the students, and which support our village in raising our children. The new Patrick Henry School and Recreation Center will truly become an important asset in helping its neighborhood and Alexandria thrive.”

The final phase of the project includes the construction and installation of a full-size rectangular synthetic turf field, baseball diamond overlay, outdoor basketball court, three playgrounds and adult fitness equipment.

SLIDE SHOW BELOW (Photos by John David Coppola/The Zebra Press)

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