Dexter Community Schools dedicated their new Dexter Early Elementary Complex this past Monday, Feb. 11. The new building ushers in a new era for Dexter’s educational system.
The project officially commenced in August, 2017, when Dexter voters approved a $71.7 million dollar construction bond to address space issues to be resolved by building a new elementary, upgrading facilities district-wide, purchasing buses, and making other improvements.
The early elementary construction took just over a year. Work began on the facility in November 2017 and former Bates students and teachers moved into their new classrooms on January 24th and 25th, 2019. The new construction adjoins the building formerly known as Cornerstone Elementary and is a mirror image of that school.
Beacon Elementary Principal Ryan Bruder grew up in Dexter attending school from kindergarten through high school graduation. He told the audience of the unique strength of Dexter’s community:
“What makes Dexter so unique is the emphasis on community. When I look at this building, I look at what we are able to accomplish. It is the physical representation of those values. In this space we will collaborate with one another. In this space we will learn with each other and learn from each other. In this space we will educate and inspire the next generation of Dexter leaders.”
Together, the two schools are called the Dexter Early Elementary Complex. The complex is connected by two large, multi-use spaces designed to encourage innovative programming and hands-on learning. During the process of naming the new construction, the Board surveyed staff, families, and the community before deciding to rename Cornerstone “Anchor Elementary” and name the new construction “Beacon Elementary” to signify a new partnership between the two elementary schools.
The existing Bates building will be repurposed to meet other District needs. During the day on February 11th, Anchor and Beacon students will celebrate the dedication with developmentally appropriate smaller group events including adding items from the classes to each building’s time capsule and participating in a symbolic ribbon cutting.
Dexter Board of Education President Michael Wendorf had this to say:
“The Board is delighted that our young 5s though second grade students will be unified in one complex within the existing campus that has served and will continue to serve all our students through twelfth grade. The generosity and support of our community together with creative and brilliant design work by TMP Architecture will allow for innovative, collaborative, hands-on learning by all students attending our Early Education Complex. We could not be more excited for the future of our district and our students.”