Berry construction almost complete
It was finally time to go home.
Principal Rose Ravin’s head popped up out of the sunroof of a pickup truck idling in front of Berry Elementary School – or what was Berry Elementary School for the last two years.
Behind Ravin were cars filled with all of Berry’s teachers and staff. And in front were Arlington police cars ready to provide the teacher caravan a police escort for their move back home.
It was a short drive – less than a mile to the original site of Berry, where the school first opened in 1955. But Berry moved out of the original building in 2021 to a temporary location – to the campus that had been Roark Elementary. In the meantime, the original Berry building was demolished and construction of a new Berry began.
Construction is now nearing completion, and last Friday, Berry’s teachers and staff got to see inside their brand-new school for the first time.
“Welcome home! Welcome home!” Ravin shouted as the teachers and staff made their way from their car caravan to the front entrance.
“This is so exciting! I’m so excited,” one teacher said out loud to no one in particular.
Even the escorting police officers were excited and hung around to see the building.
As everyone gathered at the front door, anxious to go in, Jaime Garcia, the Arlington ISD project manager who oversaw the design and construction of the new Berry, greeted everyone.
“To get you oriented,” he said, “over here is the admin area …”
But that was as far as he got.
“No, no, no!” interrupted Ravin.
The principal had other plans.
“I could take you around on a tour,” she told her staff. “But you won’t be listening.”
She figured the excitement would be too distracting.
So, she sent the entire staff on a scavenger hunt to locate each part of the building and get familiar with their new home.
Even with the scavenger hunt, the excitement was still a bit too much for some.
Jennifer Neher, Berry’s longtime art teacher, could barely contain herself.
“I can’t handle how exciting this is!” she said as she walked through the library. At that point, she hadn’t even seen her art room yet.
Down the hall, Berry’s orchestra teacher was more reserved in his excitement.
Philip Friend stood in his new strings room quietly assessing how to set it up. He is used to teaching young musicians in a portable building and having to move multiple times.
“Just to have a permanent place in the building will be so nice, he said. “And we don’t have to move again.”
The new Berry will open for students in August. It is one of four school replacements funded by the 2019 Bond. A new Thornton Elementary is also under construction and will open along with Berry in August. A new Webb Elementary opened earlier this year in January, and a new Carter Junior High has been designed and will be built soon.
Learn more about the 2019 Bond.