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GEMS Hosts Grand Opening in Time for Back to School

The Glastonbury-East Hartford Elementary Magnet School held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new building in town Tuesday.

While today is the first day of school for elementary students around Glastonbury, some lucky students began their first tour of their new scholarly home Tuesday following the grand opening ceremonies of the new Glastonbury-East Hartford Elementary Magnet School.

A formal ribbon cutting ceremony marked the official completion of the $37 million school building, which began in 2007 after the Capitol Region Education Council approached the town looking for a permanent home for the science-and-math themed magnet school.

“There are so many who worked so hard to make this a reality,” Glastonbury Board of Education Chair Susan Karp said.

The school, located at 95 Oak St., moves from its former home at the Barnes School, at 305 May Road in East Hartford. The new facility will house more students than before:  approximately 387 in the 2012-13 school year; 435 eventually at its projected capacity.

The number of applicants for the school is extremely high, Glastonbury Superintendent Alan Bookman said. Students for the school are chosen by lottery.

“I’ve never been prouder of our board of education or our town councils at the time,” said Glastonbury Town Council Chair Stewart “Chip” Beckett. “To say that this is a program that offers choice and a difference to our students and this is a program that we had to keep in place.”

Though managed by CREC, the outside of the building will be maintained by the town of Glastonbury, which will be allowed to use the grounds for town activities and events. Though Glastonbury and East Hartford must approve the annual budget for the school, CREC will manage it.

Glastonbury Public Schools will also manage and have access to the planetarium, which is expected to be completed sometime next year. The school is planning a grand opening for the planetarium in the first week of April, Bookman said.

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