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Improvements At Beryl Henry Elementary Stirs Memories

By Staff, 06/29/17 2:16 PM

HOPE – A post on the Facebook social media page for the Hope Public Schools picturing the start of demolition to six metal buildings in use on the Beryl Henry Elementary School campus since the late 60s has stirred memories from former BHE students and faculty.
The demolition was part of some $4 million in improvements and academic space expansion to the campus which is expected to be completed prior to the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year in August.
Built in 1967, Beryl Henry Elementary School almost immediately began to outgrow its facilities, as it was originally planned for some 300 students but grew to about 500. That growth necessitated the construction of the six metal buildings on the campus, one of which was a cafeteria facility and the five remaining buildings became classrooms. Usage varied over time from kindergarten and other classes to band, physical education, art, and gifted/talented programs.
The HPS Facebook post of the demoltion resulted in almost 5,000 views, with almost two dozen “likes” and more than a dozen comments from former students and current and former BHE faculty.
“I started sixth grade beginning band in those buildings,” Jessica Dixon Easter wrote. “It set the foundation for my four-year university scholarship. Many other memories were made here, but change is good for growth.”
Band classes were the most common memory.
“I started kindergarten in those buildings with Mrs. Bradshaw,” Jerri Taylor recalled.
As did Tony Kruger.
“I remember Mrs. McClain and the green carpet with white tape in a square with everyone’s name for assigned places in kindergarten, and the mats, and the old Indian paper for alphabet!,” Kruger wrote. “Plus, recess in the back; old memories!!!”
Some students saw the buildings at different levels.
“I went to kindergarten in one of those buildings, and then had beginning band in one in sixth grade,” Kayla Johnson-Bowden wrote.
And, the structures served generationally.
“Moved to Arkansas in the third grade and went to Beryl Henry,” Laurie Phillips said. “My oldest two sons went there in the same metal buildings. Glad to see them finally being upgraded.”
Teachers also recalled the structures.
“I taught in Room 30 on the ‘back 40’ for 12 years (2005-2017),” Sandra Jones wrote. “I’ll miss my old room, but I am glad to be moving into the new facility.”
Jones, who teaches choral music at BHE, will move into a completely equipped choral music room in the new 25,000-square foot expansion on the south side of the campus. The new facility includes library space, a computer/innovation lab, science classroom, band room, academic space and a multi-purpose activities room. The multi-purpose space will also provide “safe room” space for the community during hazardous weather.
Renovations to the original main building relocated and expanded offices for counselors, school nurses, conference room, and administrative offices fronted by a new portico on the north end of the building.
An expanded bus lane will serve the east side of the building and the multi-purpose room, with expanded parking and a fire service lane added where the metal buildings were located on the northwest corner of the campus.
“I went to Beryl Henry from kindergarten to fifth grade,” wrote Charisma Johnson-Williams. “Wow; this brings back a lot of memories. RIL to the old buildings (lol); but, this should make some good new memories for those to come.”image

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