New lower school opens doors


Fourth-grader Zoe McAfee checks out a locker in the new Cantrell Lower School as her father, Tom, looks on during Sunday’s dedication. (Photo by KENZIE MUENZER, Gazebo Staff)

By CARLY WANNA, Gazebo Editor

With the start of the school year, Gracie Muenzer has all the typical concerns of a rising second-grader.

Who will be her teacher?

Who will sit next to her in class?

What will the cafeteria be serving for lunch?

Gracie, her peers and their parents received a sneak peek at their new year – a year on the other side of The Loop, a cafeteria to call their own, and, simply put, a building to themselves.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sunday, August 14, officially opened up the new Cantrell Lower School Building for the 2016-2017 school year. The first day of classes in the new, $4 million facility is Thursday.

It features traditional classrooms in addition to two science classrooms, a STEM classroom, a cafeteria, and administrative support areas.

“It’s a safer building, and we have more room,” said lower school principal Redonda Mann. “Our curriculum will be expanded. We have more technology, and all of the enrichments and classes are together. We’re not in separate buildings.”

Head of School Dr. Robert Veto smiles as he walks through the front door. (Photo by KENZIE MUENZER, Gazebo Staff)

Head of School Robert Veto and the Stratford board of directors have been planning for the new lower school building since 2008 when they established the “Excellence Never Rests” campaign. The initial campaign lumped the construction of a new science building and lower school together. It later became separate campaigns, with the new science building receiving priority. The timetable for the elementary school was pushed back.

“It was always a ‘maybe,’ ‘maybe not,’ but we got it in the end,” said lower school foreign language teacher Mayvet Ranson.

The new building provides a room dedicated to their foreign language department and will allow for students to be exposed to French, Spanish, Chinese and Latin before they finish fifth grade.

“I think it will accelerate the learning,” said Betty Luce, a grandmother to rising lower school students. “My son started out at Stratford on Bond Street, and this is light years ahead.”

The colorful “Foundations of Excellence” wall in the main hallway. (Photo by KENZIE MUENZER, Gazebo Staff)