Springfield’s new Boyd Elementary School getting final touches for start of school year

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 6:16 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It was in April, 2019 that Springfield voters passed the largest bond issue in the school district’s history with most of the $168 million going to upgrade or replace buildings on the north side.

Just over $20 million of that went to build a new Boyd Elementary School that’s just about to open at the start of this school year on August 24.

On Monday, two weeks from that opening day, Dr. Travis Shaw, the SPS Director of Operations, gave us a tour of the new Boyd which you can see in the accompanying video.

It’s the third incarnation of Boyd Elementary that has served generations of Springfield youngsters.

The first Boyd Elementary was a renovated house opened in 1908 and named in honor of Mary Sophia Boyd, who taught for over 41 years in Springfield. After that house burned, in 1911 a multi-story brick structure became Boyd elementary for the next 110 years in the Midtown neighborhood just north of Drury.

But now, its successor is getting its final touches just a few blocks north on Division St. and although some people may be a little sad and nostalgic about losing the old school that had so much history and fond memories, you can’t help but be impressed by the new Boyd that will be serving the generations to come.

“The inside of this building is meeting the needs of kids and our kids learn differently,” Shaw said of the new modern structure that’s twice as big as the old Boyd and full of the latest technological advancements. “Yes, it’s absolutely a vast contrast to the existing (old) Boyd. But it has served its purpose for a hundred years. It’s now time for a new one.”

From rounded entrances and retro-looking light fixtures to a main hallway and a lunchroom that rise up the full two-stories of the building, the new Boyd has an open-air, natural look with lots of wood and tiles.

As with most new schools these days there’s also a emphasis on flexibility and the new Boyd includes both garage and sliding doors between classrooms to make them connectable. Also groups of classrooms open into centralized pods that look like living rooms known as collaboration areas.

“If teachers want to team up, if they want to have enrichment activities, this is the flexible space for our kids to be able to come out and learn in,” Shaw explained.

In another effort to promote a comfortable environment, students can even choose from several different kinds of chairs in the classrooms. There are standard chairs with wheels, chairs without wheels, stools that wobble and chairs with no legs that sit at floor level, allowing you to rock back-and-forth.

“That’s the flexible seating that we want to be able to provide kids because some kids need to move all the time,” Shaw said.

And as in all the district’s new buildings, there is a tornado shelter.

“It’s designed to protect against 250 mph wind speeds,” Shaw pointed out. “It’s a 10,000-square-foot facility that houses both the gymnasium for our P.E. classrooms as well as a stage that when closed off is where all our music classes take place. But the great part about it is that it’s also a community storm shelter so in the event we do have severe weather anybody who can get to the storm shelter is able to get here and be safe.”

The new school hasn’t forgotten its roots with a display of historical photos at the entrance and an elaborate long wall mosaic from the old school making its way to the new one.

“We actually had to literally take the wall behind it with it in order to get it out of there without risking it coming apart and getting damaged,” Shaw said of the difficulty in getting the mosaic from the old Boyd to the new Boyd.

While construction crews were still working on Monday Shaw said that the school will be ready for the first day of classes although a few things will remain unfinished because of pandemic-related shortages that all the school’s projects are dealing with.

“There are a lot of shortages whether it’s something to do with plastic, resins, steel. It could be a labor shortage that’s keeping things from being manufactured,” Shaw said. “We even had flooring that was sitting on a barge waiting to come in that we couldn’t get for one of our schools. You name it, we have to be prepared for it. It’s just become a part of the construction industry right now.”

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