Park School students, staff brave cold to break ground for new building (Photos) - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Park School students, staff brave cold to break ground for new building (Photos)

Fifth-grader Genesis Sanchez braces against the cold while watching a drone photographing the event during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Park Elementary School addition on Monday, December 16, 2019. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. – Park Elementary School students and faculty gathered outside their building on Monday afternoon, huddling close to each other for warmth against the bitter cold.

The reason for braving the winter chill was to mark a milestone in the school’s 100-year history.

Staff, students and trustees broke ceremonial ground on the playground to mark preparation for the much-needed addition. The Natrona County School Board approved the project earlier this year. Construction is scheduled to start next May.

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“We’re going to add four new classrooms to the building, and it’s going to include additional spaces for teachers and offices,” said Natrona County School District Board member and former Park student Ray Catellier.

“That’ll allow us to get rid of the portable (classrooms) on the site, and let us have all of the students inside.”

Park Elementary School students gather for a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, December 16, 2019. The addition on the school’s north side will be completed for the 2021/2022 school year. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The school’s main building now as originally constructed in the mid-1970s as an addition to the original building, which was constructed in the 1920s and since demolished. The school’s gymnasium was constructed in the mid-1950s.

The old Park School is seen in this undated photo. The current Park School is inside an addition completed in 1977. The original Park was demolished several years later. (Casper College Western History Center, Frances Seely Webb Collection)

Catellier says the new addition will give the school a proper and secure entrance and facade, and better utilize the entire grounds for indoor and outdoor activities.

The current building will also be remodeled with new windows, HVAC and paint among the improvements.

The full outline of the entire $4.86 million project can be seen here.

“The school has been at capacity for a long time so it’ll open some things up and be a great addition.”

The new building is expected to be completed by the 2021/2022 school year.