From wreck to rec: School gets new home - Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA - December 1, 2008

Officials broke ground today on a 2-story public building where 850 children will soon get the 3 R's plus art, science and computers.

Built in 1907, Kensington's Frances Willard elementary falls shy of the mark a century after it was built. There is no cafeteria, so its 700 students eat lunch at their desks. The gym is essentially a classroom with basketball hoops at either end. There are 6 outdated computers for each class of nearly 30 students. There is no library.

So the state of the art, high-tech, $30 million replacement is a long time coming. It will feature a cafeteria, gym technology labs and more.

"It's a dream come true because the children in this community deserve a better educational facility," Carmen Lebron, a student's grandparent told Action News.

"We'll have more resources for the kids. We'll have a library. A bigger gym that we deserve, and a lot more technology that will be good for the kids," said Wanda Ellis a Willard School Teacher.

The new Willard will be on the site of the old Franklyn Rec Center, which has been unused now for years.

Construction on the new building begins later this month. The doors to the new facility are slated to open in Fall of 2010.

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