By Andrew Cluley- AAPS Communications Specialist
With excitement still building around Ann Arbor Public Schools creating a pre K-12 International Baccalaureate corridor, enrollment continues to grow at Mitchell Elementary. To meet the growth in enrollment a new wing with six classrooms, two teacher collaboration spaces, and restrooms were added over the summer. The Mitchell community and Ann Arbor Public Schools celebrated the new wing with a ribbon cutting ceremony before the Board of Education meeting last week.
This summer’s construction, which also included the creation of a community room, creates room for enrollment growth and a young fives classroom at Mitchell. Two additional phases of the Mitchell expansion are planned to add another nine classrooms, provide pre-school space, and upgrade the main entrance to the building.
Principal Kevin Karr says the bright green, “blades of grass,” exterior color was chosen intentionally to help students and the community notice what’s going on at Mitchell. “We want people to know that something new and different is happening at Mitchell School, and it is special,” he says.
Karr says thought went into colors inside the school as well. “When you walk into the classrooms and you look up at the ceiling, each ceiling has a different shade of blue, and that ends up being different shades of the sky during the day,” Karr says. “They all reflect onto the wall and give a calming learning environment. However when you turn down that hallway, and you see the expansion from the inside it should say exciting.”
Touring the expansion after the ribbon cutting ceremony, School Board President Deb Mexicotte was impressed. “This is an amazing new wing for Mitchell School, the color, the size, the way it’s organized, the way that the light comes in, you really feel that sort of inside coming out, and the outside coming in,” she says. “Boy we are just so proud that this wing was put up so beautifully and in time for school to start this fall.”
The roughly six-month timeline to complete the new wing of Mitchell to have the building ready for the start of the school year stands in stark contrast to the school’s original construction. Bonnie Flanders is a paraprofessional at Mitchell Elementary, but she also attended the school as a child and her older brother was a student when the building opened in 1952. Flanders laughed that it took two years for building the initial seven rooms of Mitchell School, compared to the six month turn-around for a similar sized expansion this year.
At the ribbon cutting, Superintendent Jeanice Swift celebrated the completion of phase one, but is excited to think about what is coming in the next two phases of the project. “It’s so wonderful to see the past, the present and then to know already what a great future you’re going to have here at Mitchell Elementary School.”