Ground broken on replacement for Buchanan Elementary

Buchanan Elementary
Community leaders break ground on the new Buchanan Elementary School in Grand Rapids. (May 31, 2017)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The new Buchanan Elementary School is about to take shape in Grand Rapids.

Leaders of Grand Rapids Public Schools ceremonially broke ground Wednesday on the $14 million project, which is being paid for with school bond money.

“I just thank the voters because without the support of this community saying, We believe in those children, we believe in the district,’ it wouldn’t happen. It would be another many years before these children could get it. So we’re able to do it and I’m so thankful for the community to allow me to be their superintendent,” Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal said.

The original Buchanan Elementary opened in 1915. The current building was reconstructed in 1962. Despite additions over the years, the rising student population is starting to outgrow the space.

Nearly 500 students attend Buchanan Elementary.

The first thing to go will be the two portable classrooms that have been on the property for decades. After that, crews will work on the new building, which will include 16 new classrooms.

Portions of the old building will be saved and renovated, including seven classrooms.

The new building should be ready for the 2018-2019 school year.

**Clarification: An earlier version of this article stated the current Buchanan Elementary was over a century old. While the original school did open more than a century ago, the current building was reconstructed in 1962. The article has been updated to reflect these details.