New middle school opens in Villanova for 1,000 students

This year, there's a new grade configuration across Lower Merion School District with fifth grade moving to the middle school.

Katherine Scott Image
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
First day of school, first day at brand-new school for 1,000 students
The first day of school is the first day at a brand-new building for approximately 1,000 students in Lower Merion School District.

VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It was the first day of school on Tuesday for students at the new Black Rock Middle School in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

"I am feeling amazing. I can't wait to start," said fifth-grader Kieran Tatterson.

"So excited, a little scared that I'm going to get lost in this big middle school," said fifth-grader Nico Minieri.

The school is for Lower Merion School District students in grades five through eight from Penn Wynne and Gladwyne.

Approximately 1,000 students will attend the new school.

Fifth and sixth-graders reported on Tuesday, and seventh and eighth-graders report on Wednesday. The start days are staggered to help everyone get used to the new building.

"I was an ambassador, so it's pretty cool to see the school finally here in front of us," said fifth-grader Bianca Slawter.

When these three fifth and sixth-graders were in second and third grades, they were selected as student ambassadors to check in with the project and report back to their classmates.

Tatterson, Minieri and Slawter are among the ambassadors that watched the plans evolve.

"Really cool to see the new school; really happy about it, since I was here when it used to be a mansion," added student ambassador Spencer Govberg, who is now in sixth grade.

"In the beginning, I saw a whole bunch of wreckage. The next time I came to the school, I saw the skeleton," said Tatterson.

"As I continued to come here, I was here for the beam signing and multiple different events, and I think that the structure has changed a lot over the years, and I think that was like really, really special," said fifth-grade student ambassador Cara Resnick.

The library and the cafeteria are among the students' favorite parts.

"I really like the cafeteria or as I call it, a dining hall, now, and the two-story library - I'm really excited about," said Minieri.

"I think my favorite part is probably the cafeteria. They got booths. They got so many different seating options, and because my bag is so skinny, I'm going to buy lunch," said Slawter.

"I love the gathering stairs, and the library, and the dining hall with the booths - it seems like a restaurant down there!" said Resnick.

This year, there's a new grade configuration across Lower Merion School District with fifth grade moving to the middle school level to ease crowding in schools.

"There are so many people I've never seen before, and I'll get to meet them," Tatterson said.

"Ready. I'm feeling ready," Slawter said.

As for this new building, the gym and the auditorium are not quite finished yet but are expected to be next month. In the meantime, PE will be held in other spots on campus.

The grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place next month.