Rolesville Elementary Welcomes Students After Renovation

Lisa Brown • • September 2017

A renovation that has been years in the making is complete, and students and staff alike could not be happier.

Rolesville Elementary School - completed renovation 9/2017

AGI teacher Jen Barbour stands ready to welcome students and answer questions.
Photos by Lisa Brown

Rolesville Elementary School Principal Dana Dougherty-Primiano welcomed excited students to the August 25 open house for teacher introductions and for the opportunity to see the new school.

“It’s been a 2½-year process from design to construction, and it couldn’t be better. It’s full of life,”  Primiano said.

The school needed a complete renovation from aesthetics to systems. The aging building was unsightly and unsafe, and obtaining parts to fix outdated buildings and mechanics was getting more and more difficult and costly.

The original school was 80 years old, and at one time it may have hosted kindergarten through 12th grade, according to Primiano. All of that is completely gone now, including renovations made in the late ’90s and more in the early 2000s. Those renovations were necessary at the time but were no longer safe or convenient.

The old buildings also were not joined together, leaving students in the elements when going from class to class.

“Students will no longer have to walk outside to get to classes,” Primiano said.

The carpool lane, which is located at the back of the school, now has a canopy to provide a dry place for students to wait for their rides.

Rolesville Elementary School - completed renovation 9/2017

Jacob Berhe and mom Juanita Brooks marvel
at the new gymnasium where Jacob
will soon be playing basketball.

The project was a major undertaking and had to be done in stages to accommodate the students, who needed to remain in class. The first phase included the gym, loading dock and bus loop. The second was a two-story classroom addition that replaced the old cafeteria. Finally, the additions were joined together to create the cohesive, one-building structure everyone anticipated the most.

Jacob Berhe, a kindergartener, is excited about starting school, and his mother, Juanita Brooks, is happy to have him starting in a new school that feels safe and beautiful. The gym is Jacob’s favorite part so far.

“I can’t wait to play basketball,” he said.

Kolby Jones, a fifth-grader, was aware her school, which she attended since kindergarten, was rundown and in need of repairs. Jones saw the gym during phase one and was excited to see the rest in place.

Rolesville Elementary School - completed renovation 9/2017

Fifth-grader Kolby Jones and her mother, Debbie Jones, wait for class assignments.

“I knew the A/C was leaking and didn’t want it to come into the classroom,” Jones said.

Her reaction at seeing the fresh buildings and renovations? With a smile, she said, “I like it.”

Jen Barbour, the AIG teacher, has been with Rolesville Elementary since 2004, first as a parent, then as a member of the teaching staff as of 2010. To her, the biggest problem was the disjointed structures. The students complained about having to walk outside, but for the staff, safety was also a big concern.

“The students were getting wet and cold, but now it’s safer, too. Once they’re in the building, they’re in,” Barbour said.

Pimiano credited the renovations for generating excitement and expectancy for the school year.

“This has been the biggest turnout I’ve had for an open house,” Primiano said.

As students and parents walked the halls, most were amazed at the transformation. One parent smiled at Primiano and exclaimed, “It looks so good! I didn’t even know where I was!”

From a learning perspective, Primiano knows the new building and its bright halls and classrooms will make learning the focus for everyone. Primiano appreciates having input in the design and function of the school.

“Everything was designed with the students in mind. Even the furniture is kid friendly,” Primiano said.

She has been principal for four of her nine years at the school, and her son attends Rolesville Elementary.

“It’s home to me,” Primiano said, “and I couldn’t wait to see it done, and it’s been done correctly.”