Demolition to rebuild better. That’s what’s happening at Franklin Park Elementary School, but it is not because of Hurricane Ian.
The project has been in the works for a while. WINK News spent the day with students who are making something special before the building comes down by making a time capsule.
WINK News asked the 5th graders who participated what they put in it for future students to find.
“I put a communities news article,” said Lisanne Carter.
“I put some socks I used to go to Sky Zone. I also put cards in there I used to play with,” said Gabriel Da Silva.
“I put a remote-control Lamborghini car,” said Andre Williams.
“I put pictures of class taking pictures all around the school, the cafeteria, the classroom, the playground,” said Brae’lya Nash.
“I am putting in some important events that happened, such as the first black president and my brothers being born, Hurricane Ian, Hurricane Irma, and Franklin Park being torn down,” Jorg Ruize said.
Wednesday is the last day students and staff at Franklin Park will be on campus before the school is demolished and rebuilt.
“10, 20, 50 years from now, the next students that come along, once they dig up this time capsule, they will get a glimpse into what their lives were like and what history was happening at the time of their lives,” said Michelle Freeman, principal at Franklin Park Elementary.
The history dates all the way back to 1958 when Franklin Park opened as an all-black school. It was converted into a middle school in 1970 and integrated. In 1977, Franklin Park was renovated and became an elementary school again.
The director of diversity and inclusion, Jarrett Eady, said this school represents the spirit of the Dunbar community.
“So many of our leaders and so many of our community members have passed through these walls in this campus,” Eady said.
The school plays a big part for 5th grader Brae’lya Nash. “I am really going to be sad when the school is broken down”
Nash will be back to visit but has a message for future students.
“After the school gets rebuilt, I want to [tell] all the 4th graders, 5th graders, everyone in the school that’s going to be here next year to know is always be yourself, never change,” said Nash.
The new school will open in August 2024, and the time capsule will be sealed on the new campus once it is built.
This rebuild comes after a promise the district made to voters if the half-cent sales tax was approved in 2018.
When students return from winter break, they will temporarily be in portable classrooms set up across the street from James Stephens Elementary.