Media Elementary School held an Open House Thursday at its new temporary location at the former Nativity BVM School on Franklin and Gayley streets.
In May, the Rose Tree Media Board of School Directors unanimously approved a lease agreement between the district and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Nativity BVM, allowing students and staff to be temporarily housed at the former while Media Elementary undergoes roof repairs.
The school district announced in March that a . The school must be closed for up to one school year in order for the repairs to be made. .
On Thursday, students, parents, teachers and staff wandered the halls of the now Media Elementary School.
Colorful murals filled the halls, some covering up Nativity-specific or religious artifacts. Teacher name tags and signs helped to give direction, along with the teachers and staff themselves pointing everyone wherever they needed to go.
Principal Maria Kotch said the transition was a tremendous amount of work but everyone from the teachers, staff, parents, custodians and maintenance workers made the giant task seem manageable.
"It really looks great, everyone did such a great job," she said. "I'm very pleased and very excited."
Claire Wilmot, a fourth grade parent, and her high school-aged daughter spent all summer creating and painting murals to fill the hallways to fit the school's "Great Adventure" theme.
"They really do look cheerful and bright," Kotch said. "They really exceeded my exceptions."
Wilmot was at the Open House at the front door, greeting each smiling face and pointing each student and parent in the right direction.
She said she was happy to be able to contribute and create the murals.
"We wanted to brighten things up a bit and keep with the theme," Wilmot said.
Kotch said some aspects of the school year will be a bit of trial and error as they work out the kinks. Nativity housed about 200 plus students while Media Elementary has about 440 students, Kotch said.
The gymnasium will be the only "large" room for the entire student body to convene. Along with gym classes, it will be used for lunch periods and any assemblies.
The Nativity emblem in the center of the gym will remain visible as Nativity's CYO teams and CCD classes will still be hosted at the building. The gym's emblem, along with the statue area of the Blessed Virgin Mary outside, were the only obvious signs that the school was once Nativity BVM School.
Both parents and students seemed pleased with the transformation as they exited the Open House.
June Messam, along with her son Christian, said everything seemed organized and ready to go for the first day of school.
"There really was potential for chaos but as usual with Media Elementary it's all been excellent," Messam said.
Moria Combs, a second grader, said she was excited for the first day of school but was most excited for recess.
"I thought it looked awesome," Trish Combs, Moria's mother, said. "It's welcoming and friendly and clean. Everyone did a great job."