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Gladeville hosts festival, debuts renovation

Gladeville Elementary recently underwent renovation, getting a new addition to the school that was built in 1978. The construction began May 2016 and was completed this past summer.
Six new rooms were added: four classrooms, one music room, and a large gym. The art room was also renovated, which was previously the old library. The front half of the old gym is now the library media center and the kitchen area. The entire building was painted, new windows and doors were installed, and the administration received new offices.
The renovations were necessary for the school with the increase in enrollment. The current number of students is 692, up from 648 in the 2016-2017 school year, and the numbers continue to grow throughout the year.
The renovations were funded by bonds issued by the county commission and had been in the planning process for three to five years, according to Mickey Hall, deputy director of Wilson County Schools. There are currently no more renovations scheduled for Gladeville Elementary, but Hall said there will be a new capital outlay plan presented to the board later this month.
During construction, a large oak tree that had stood in the front of the school yard for more than 100 years was cut down. Many community members were upset, as they had played under the tree when they were children and did not want that part of their childhood removed.
What was a sad moment for many in Gladeville turned into a happy surprise as it was revealed a portion of the tree was preserved, with special thanks to the LaFever and Flatt families. Roark Phillips, an elaborate wood carver who uses a chainsaw, created a tree with a swing from the trunk of the “Old Gladeville Tree.”
“It represents all the generations of children that played under that tree,” said Principal Monica Fox. “So we were able to save a part of Gladeville’s history.”
This creation now resides in a display case at the front of the new addition, along with other artifacts from the history of the oldest school site in Wilson County, according to Fox. The displays were debuted at the ribbon cutting ceremony July 24.
Over the weekend, Gladeville hosted its annual Gladefest, a fall festival involving the school, local community members and businesses that helps bring in money to the school.
This year’s Gladefest included an antique car show, pony rides, children’s inflatables, book fair and many different vendors. A 5K Glow Run/Fun Run was held Friday night, and the rest of the festival took place Saturday.
“All the money that the school gets from the vendors, all that goes to the PTO,” said Fox. “Everything the teachers make for the 5K and the Gladefest games, that money is divided up and it goes into the teachers’ accounts for the kids to get that money. So they buy things for their kids.”
Fox said the festival is a great way for kids to see their teachers in a different light.
“They’re not always ‘teacher,’ they’re human,” said Fox.
The money PTO receives is used to buy big things for the school, such as handheld radios for the teachers to use in case communications ever go down. PTO also assists the school in curriculum and programs, such as literacy night and the anti-bullying program, which is in its fourth year. In addition, the parent group plans spirit nights for the students and teacher appreciation breakfasts.
Gladeville Elementary School is located at 8840 Stewarts Ferry Pk., Mt. Juliet.

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