Atlanta Public Schools has been hosting a series of ribbon cutting ceremonies honoring and commemorating the renaming and renovation of schools around the district. These events introduce the community to learning facilities remodeled with Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds.
Joseph W. Humphries Elementary School was named after the Honorable Joseph W. Humphries, an eminent member of the Fulton County Board of Education. The school opened in 1916 as a Fulton County School with only four rooms. Later, in 1951, Humphries was converted to an APS school site. Over the years, there have been several expansions and renovations the school. Structural additions were made in 1932, 1950, 1967, 1994, 1997-98, 2001, and 2019. The facilities were extensively renovated in 2021.
On Friday, Oct. 15, Humphries Elementary School held a ribbon cutting to commemorate the $10.7 million refurbishment of its building and campus. During the ceremony, the presentation of colors was provided by South Atlanta High School’s JROTC, followed by a student performance and a song led by Mrs. Falconer’s chorus class.
Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring, Atlanta Board of Education Vice Chair Eshè Collins, and board member Cynthia Briscoe Brown were in attendance.
The new renovation includes a totally rebuilt framing for the building, a new Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) lab, and a safety vestibule near the main office. Additionally, the school’s former auditorium was converted into a larger, enhanced media center while the old media center was converted into more classroom space.
The projects have yielded over 62,000 square feet of updated educational space for scholars and teachers. Principal Jaron Trimble shared his excitement and vision about how the Roadrunners plan to make use of the new spaces.
“Its great to have the new facilities. The renovations have been in place for roughly a year and a half, and so as the new principal I came in hearing about the old facilities.”
Principal Trimble joined Humphries Elementary School in June of this year. Trimble has been a part of Atlanta Public Schools since 2009 where he served as a Teacher, Instructional Coach, and Assistant Principal at Hope-Hill Elementary School.
Principal Trimble went on to share his eagerness of what’s to come next from the new facilities.
“With the building of the STEM lab, we really are aiming at becoming a true STEM School. We have an assessment in February to gain STEM certification, however, for us that’s just the beginning. The work we have right in front of us is to be a fully integrated STEM school.”
“As the new principal, our goal for the school is high achievement. At the beginning of the school year, we talked about a five year plan for us to be a school where 50 percent of our scholars are proficient or above ELA (English/Language Arts) and 50 percent of our scholars are proficient and above in mathematics.
Trimble closed by saying: “Don’t count Humphries out! We are going to be the school of choice for our community!”
Preceding Trimble’s leadership at Humphries was former Principal Melanie Mitchell.
“As the former principal, I hope the students can keep the space clean, enjoy the space, as well as the value of the space. I hope that when they go in their STEM lab, they can become innovative and have access to the materials they need, and just Build. STEM. Grow. – just as the motto says!”
Mitchell said she was very pleased with the transition of both the leadersip and the facilities.
“I feel really comfortable at this point. Safety was a main focus for the renovation. Prior to the renovation, you could walk right into the school. There was no vestibule. Some of the restrooms and steps did not meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations.”
“I am very happy that safety was put first, because you now have to come into the office and check in. You cant just barge into the space.”
Mitchell continued by expressing her feelings about the ceremony.
“I’m just very happy to be a part of the celebration. I’m glad that the space is now in use with children. I’m glad to see them happy,” she said. “There was a special feature that I left behind as my special project. Instead of a computer lab, I converted it into a game room. So there is a full space with six flat screen TVs, six XBox’s, almost like a little Dave & Busters. There’s also ping-pong, air hockey and ski ball tables, a doll house, doll center, and an old-school Pac-Man arcade machine.”
“There are lots of things for students to come to school to meet their academic and discipline goals. Whatever goals the school has for them, we want students to come and share in that space.”