HARRISON — Students at the new Kennedy School in Harrison will have a wealth of technology at the tips of their tiny fingers when they finally get into the classrooms.

Town and district officials held a ribbon cutting last week for the school — which will be home to the town pre-K through first-grade students — even though the building has remained closed so far this school year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The high-tech features at the school include touch screen tables, smartboards and chrome-books for students in all classrooms, printers and Wi-Fi for teachers and lift-controlled overhead projectors and audio equipment in the gym and cafetorium, District IT Director Peter Santana said.

“We needed upgraded technology for those lower grades,” district Personnel Director James Doran said. He noted that having a centralized facility for those youngsters would be the best way to achieve that goal.

The school, funded through the state’s Schools Development Authority, didn’t skimp on security, either. The building features electronic door access cards for staff, a bulletproof lobby entrance and a state-of-the-art hallway camera system.

“I spent many hours here during construction and I can say this school was built right,” said Michael Dolaghan, the district’s director of maintenance/facilities manager. “It’s a great plant.”

The three-story school at the corner of Washington Street and Harrison Avenue cost $36 million to build, state SDA spokeswoman Edye Maier said. The 65,500-square-foot school, named for former President John F. Kennedy, can accommodate up to 390 students and will alleviate the overcrowding that existed in the district’s lower grade levels.

Nine classrooms are reserved for kindergarten, another nine for grade 1, two for pre-K and two for special education. Also provided are a cafetorium, gym, outdoor play space, support space and one-to-one technology for students.

Veteran Harrison educator JoAnn Botch has been designated as principal of the new school. She will also continue as director of early childhood education.

The district is still waiting for the contractor to install a turf safety surface and fencing for a pre-K playground area. Construction began in March 2018 and included demolition of three residential buildings on Fifth Street to provide sufficient space for outdoor recreation.

Alan C. Price, director of the Boston-based John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum presented district officials with two photos from the organization’s collection, of JFK on the steps of Newark City Hall, to be displayed in the school.

“It is my hope that they inspire you to continue to answer President Kennedy’s call to service and to educate a new generation who will make a contribution and strengthen this great nation,” Price said.

Price recalled a speech JFK made in neighboring Newark in 1962 in which the president urged all within hearing “to make it possible, especially for the [children] of this country, to be well-educated and to develop their own resources and make their own contribution.”

Classes at the school are scheduled to resume Nov. 16 — the beginning of the third marking period — along with the rest of the district, said Doran, who noted that the district could give students the option of attending in person or to continue remote learning.

A surveys of families in the town of 17,000 show that about 30 percent prefer to stay the course with the virtual approach while roughly 60 percent want in-person classes, Doran said. Among Kennedy School parents, as many as 67 percent want in-person learning, he said.

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