School year starts in Ely; Students return to class Tuesday

LOOKING GOOD - The pieces are nearly all in place for the new elementary playground. Volunteers were pouring concrete. The landscaping is yet to come for the project. Photo by Nick Wognum.

by Tom Coombe -

A year of growth and change is about to begin on the Ely school campus.
Enrollment is expected to be up again when the 2017-18 school year starts on Tuesday.
Final totals await, school officials are cautiously optimistic that K-12 enrollment in Ely will top 600 students for the first time in 11 years.
While more students will be in the classrooms, the look of the campus will have a decidedly different feel - at least on the west side.
That’s where a new playground is being erected, giving students at Washington Elementary a new play area just adjacent to the school.
Several other renovation projects have taken place on campus, including new flooring in the Washington building and restoration of portions of Washington as the result of the demolition of the JFK building.
In the Memorial building, one of the most notable changes is the installation of a brand-new sound system in the gymnasium. Several classrooms also have new carpeting.
Retirements have also shuffled the school faculty lineup, with Christina Weisel joining the Washington staff as a third-grade teacher.
In the high school building, the district welcomes three new instructors: Anja Nienow in German and special education teachers Autumn Arntz and Laurie Milbridge.
Faculty members reported for in-service days earlier this week and an open house was held Thursday.
The 172-day school year starts with Tuesday’s opening bell.
This also marks the first time in several years that the district’s administrative lineup has had no changes.
Kevin Abrahamson begins his third year as the district’s part-time superintendent while Megan Anderson (Memorial) and Anne Oelke (Washington) return as principals.