Orange Beach Elementary School hosted a ribbon cutting on Sept. 5 to celebrate the opening of their new state-of-the-art cafeteria and library. Superintendent Randy Wilkes said that in addition to …
Orange Beach Elementary School hosted a ribbon cutting on Sept. 5 to celebrate the opening of their new state-of-the-art cafeteria and library.
Superintendent Randy Wilkes said that in addition to the new facilities, the $6.1 million project also includes a connector between the library and 100 building, connector between the 100 and 300 building, contingency used to paint the exterior of the original building, Bahama shutters and a gate on the dumpster pads.
The new library includes seating for 100 students, a reading room, media specialist's office, reading interventionist room, storage room and new shelving and circulation desk. Additionally, the new cafeteria features an occupancy of 487, seating of nearly 300, stage with additional lighting and sound system and restrooms for the wing in close proximity to the managers.
The district broke ground on this phase of an expansion and renovation project in August 2022, and Wilkes said that phase two is set to begin later this month and will convert the old library and cafeteria into six new classrooms.
The elementary school opened at its present site in 1997 and became a National Blue Ribbon School in 2021.
"This has been a wonderful project, and there will be benefits of this project for two or three generations to come," said Wilkes. "I am very appreciative to everyone who has had a huge role in this project."
Wilkes also gave an overview of the school system's academic achievements from the 2022-2023 school year, noting that fifth-grade mathematics, fifth-grade English language arts, sixth-grade mathematics, sixth-grade English language arts, seventh-grade mathematics, seventh-grade English language arts and eighth-grade mathematics placed in the top 10 ACAP [Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program] proficiency scores in the state.
Wilkes also emphasized that the system's seventh-graders placed highest in the state for their mathematics scores.
"Our kids are so blessed. The building is great, but the people are what make our schools," Mayor Tony Kennon said. "We are going toward excellence."