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Alumni, Students Say Goodbye to Study Middle School, Hello to Westport K-8 School

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The new main entrance is nearly completed at Westport Elementary in Springfield. The doors will open for K-8 students Aug. 14.

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Harry P. Study Middle School in Springfield held a farewell event this week as the facility wraps up its last semester as a middle school. Next year, Study students will move to the Westport K-8 School. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark reports.

Study Middle School is a feeder school for Bissett, Campbell, McGregor, Portland and Westport Elementary Schools in Springfield. After they graduate from Study, students usually feed into Central High School or Parkview High School. Close to 400 students are enrolled at Study.

In 2009, Springfield voters passed a bond issue for the expansion of Westport’s K-8thgrade campus. Renovations to the building are nearly complete and will be ready for students in the upcoming 2013-2014 school year.

It’s a big move for some from Study Middle School. Principle Jay Rush says they’ve been working hard to make the transition smooth and easy for the students and faculty.

“Any kind of change is always difficult. We’ve been trying to prepare students and their parents and the community that the change is going to be made. Always, there’s going to be a little bit of sadness leaving a building that you’re used to and that you’ve been going to school to, but I think after two or three days or maybe a week or so the adjustment will be made and things will be going very smoothly at Westport.”

Originally, the city built the building to house K-8 students in the late 1940s. Fifty years later, in the mid-90s, Study converted to just a middle school.

To commemorate the decades’ worth of history at the school, Study held a farewell event as part of their spring festival. Alumni—some graduates from the `40s and `50s—walked the halls once more to reminisce and celebrate at the event.

“I would estimate that we had somewhere between 500 – 700 people that came through in about two hours’ time. They were individuals that had gone to school here as early as the 40s. What we were doing was we were inviting the community in that had attended Study and had connections to Study and wanted them to be able to come in and catch up with old friends and visit…”

The festival included carnival activities for kids, a video montage of Study memories, food vendors and refreshments and an opportunity for participants to purchase Study memorabilia.

Westport K-8 opens its doors August 14th. Rush says the middle school is almost entirely brand new, including a new office complex, gym, cafeteria and large, open area classrooms. Westport is significantly bigger and more up-to-date than their current facility, Rush says.

As for the Study building, there will be some minor interior renovations. Next year, the building will become a hub for the district alternative programs currently held at the Bailey, Berry and Pepperdine buildings.

Rush says Westport is five minutes away from Study, so students shouldn’t have to travel all that far to get to the new school.

For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.

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To see pictures of the renovations at Westport, visit our website.