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September 23, 2014

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Funding allows McCaw, Taylor to add to campuses

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Frances Vanderploeg

Several murals grace the walls of Robert Taylor Elementary School courtesy of Henderson artist Shawn Ealy, who attended at the original campus. In the library, the library specialist requested a bright, colorful theme set off by the centerpiece cartoon sun and book. Outside the window is a patriotic mural Ealy painted in the courtyard.

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The kindergarten wing at Gordon McCaw Elementary School is complete with a large playground area as well as an extra wing, which most schools don't have.

Despite lacking a complete playground, students at Gordon McCaw Elementary School still seemed ecstatic to walk into the door of their brand new building during the first week of school.

Gordon McCaw and Robert Taylor elementary schools, both built in 1954, experienced several changes during the summer, courtesy of funding from Clark County School District’s 1998 building bond, which provided more than 100 new schools and rebuilt or refurbished several others. McCaw and Taylor were on the list, earning them both new buildings with all the bells and whistles.

“This place is amazing,” McCaw Assistant Principal Renee Muraco said.

One of the big changes is moving into the latest prototypes, which are indoor schools that group each grade into pods. Both schools were outdoor campuses before.

Some of the bells and whistles include computer stations and audio systems in each class, amplifying teacher voices so the students can hear more clearly. It also provides students with a microphone that can be used whenever the teacher deems necessary.

At the center of each school is a large library with an open window looking out onto the courtyard. Taylor’s library received the final touches shortly before the children came in. It has new books on the shelves and new paint on the walls, as well as a giant, cartoon sunshine seen from the library door.

Janet Dobry, principal at Taylor, couldn’t stop raving about her school’s murals. Henderson artist Shawn Ealy spent the last several weeks leading up to the first day of school painting a giant mural on the courtyard’s main wall, as well as the sunshine and a few other paintings around the library.

When school started, McCaw’s library wasn’t unpacked yet. Because of late construction, teachers weren’t allowed into the building until the Thursday before school started.

Muraco said the only big thing her school is waiting on is the completion of its playground. The school has some blacktop and brought out the P.E. equipment for the children to play on. Eventually, though, new playground equipment will be set up.

“We’re still a bit under construction, so we’re kind of making do,” she said.

The administrative staffs at the schools had to work through the summer rather than take the traditional July vacation, but no one seemed to mind.

“It’s a good administrative experience,” Muraco said. “It teaches you quite a bit about how things work.”

Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or [email protected].

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