There was free pizza and lemonade, tours of the campus and a sense of anticipation on April 20 as a crowd waited outside Woodside Elementary School's brand new $8 million auditorium for a ribbon to be cut so they could glimpse inside the new building that will serve as a gymnasium, theater and rainy day lunchroom for the school's kindergarten to eighth-grade students.
Woodside Elementary School alumni Grant Finlayson, with the help of former Woodside Elementary School teacher Karen Peterson and George "Geordie" Sellman Jr., unveiled a plaque in honor of longtime district superintendent George Sellman. Mr. Sellman was also director of eighth-grade operettas and community theater.
The plaque, paid for by 125 former Woodside Elementary School students, reads in part: "George Sellman -- teacher, musical theater director, principal, superintendent, and decorated WII soldier -- helped build the character of Woodside as a school that strives for the highest standards of academic excellence, while fostering appreciation for the individual in an atmosphere of equality and respect for all."
"George Sellman earned the respect and affection of generations of students, families and faculty. Woodside Elementary School honors his legacy by striving to follow his example of devoted service, human kindness, and belief in the unifying and uplifting power of musical theater."
The new $8.26 million building has a permanent stage, pull-out bleachers with folding seat backs to seat 200, a kitchen, and a lobby, along with an office for the middle school principal. It is zero net energy, producing as much energy with roof top solar panels as it consumes. It has cafeteria tables that fold up and can be stored in lockers and can also be used for basketball, volleyball and other activities.
The building was funded with $6.6 million from a $13.5 million bond measure approved by the voters in 2014, $1.4 million in donations from the Woodside School Foundation and nearly $268,000 in other funding.
The bond proceeds also helped the one-school district build two new classrooms for its tuition-based preschool, build a new design lab, and complete a little more than $2 million in deferred maintenance projects such as drainage and leaky roofs. More projects, including additional lighting, fencing and replacement of an artificial turf field are planned for this summer.