Pine Grove School Gets a Facelift

PGS has needed some renovations for years now and finally the new academic space is coming together.


Joe Luciano

View of the renovations from the front parking lot.

Caitlin White and Joe Luciano

The renovation at Pine Grove Elementary School is underway and both the students and the teachers are feeling the consequences.

Mrs. Christine Kneeland is the Principal at Pine Grove and has been for 10 years now.

“It was a dump. It was falling apart and we needed to bring this building into the 21st century,” says Kneeland.

Pine Grove was built in 1954 and the last time any type of major work or renovation was done on it was in 1988. “When this building is done, it will be the nicest school in the district,” said Kneeland.

Pine Grove Elementary School in Rowley this past year was approved for a big overhaul. The renovation is being completed in five different phases’, the first was the administrative section of the school and the second, which is expected to be completed right before Christmas, is the all-purpose room. The renovation has caused the students to change their former habits and the teachers to adapt to the new changes.

Due to the renovation, the lunches for PGS are made at Triton High School in the morning and then delivered to Pine Grove. Because there is construction in the cafeteria, the students and faculty now have to eat lunch in the gym. For anyone who has ever been in the gym, they can only imagine eating in there with the old rubber floors that could almost be picked apart in a gym that was from the 1980’s.

The new main office at PGS.


Fourth-grader Madeleine Friis, third grader Andrew Kiricoples, and sixth grader Jack Lyman do not like eating lunch in the gym.

“ I do not like to eat lunch in the gym it smells bad and there are a lot of bees,” says Madeline Friis.

Now that the gym or as the students call it the “cafenasium” is preoccupied with lunch tables, the students must have gym outside. When students can’t go outside, whether it be extreme temperatures or rain, they go inside into an empty classroom and do yoga or watch healthy videos.

“ I like having gym outside because you have more room but hate it too because the grass is wet sometimes and your feet get soaked or it’s cold,” said sixth-grader Ava Kiricoples.

With the weather creeping closer and closer to freezing temperatures, the students are wondering how long it will be before they have gym inside. Having gym class inside would consist of the students doing yoga in a classroom.

Fourth-grader, Madeleine Friis, says “ I am excited to try yoga as I have never tried it before.”

The renovations also include improvements in safety. Outside of the entrance are several large boulders that are strategically placed to prevent a vehicle from driving into the school. “Sad to say, but it does happen,” said Kneeland. Along with the boulders, the glass in the new doors is rated 80 percent bulletproof.

To get the renovation done, the students and the faculty clearly had to make several sacrifices for this school year. Some of the classrooms are affected more than others. In the fifth grade wing, just talk to Mrs. Geyer, who has been teaching at PGS for eight years now.

“The students have handled the construction and redirection of classrooms well and teachers have found ways to turn the construction into teachable moments. The construction has given teachers an opportunity for their students to learn how to be flexible as they will need this skill in the real world,” says Geyer.

You might expect that with the ongoing construction that there would be many distractions that come with it; however, Mrs. Kneeland says “The kids really are resilient, they got totally used to it”

“Now the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders are all in one wing, so the hallways are very crowded, ” said, a sixth grader, Liam Friis.

“There are lots of noises throughout the day as construction continues outside my window, but the students and I have gotten used to the noise so much that it is like background noise,” says Geyer.

Despite the fact that the construction keeps getting postponed it has to be done at one time or another, but everyone agrees that they can’t wait for it to be completed.

Sixth graders, Ava Kiricoples, Jack Lyman, and Liam Friis, says “ The renovations are needed because it is an older school, and it needs new facilities. Also, the hallway ceilings and gym would leak after bad weather.”

Geyer says, “ We need a school that met the needs of teaching 21st-century learners in addition to the cost of repairing the building. It is the only building in the district that has not been updated to 21st century standards.”