From Dr. Mason: Notes on Gresham Elementary
November 3, 2017 -- As you know, the Board of Education and I are currently working to determine if the acquisition of Gresham Elementary would make possible a revised facilities plan that would be preferable to the plan adopted in April.
Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the Gresham campus with Dr. Craig Pouncey, Superintendent of Jefferson County Schools. Here’s a summary of what I learned and saw during my tour.
Built in 1967, O.G. Gresham Elementary School is located on a 27-acre campus near the geographic center of Vestavia Hills. Originally opened as a junior high school, Gresham now serves approximately 450 students in grades K-5 in the Jefferson County school system.
The interior of Gresham has been well-maintained thanks to an extensive renovation completed in recent years. Classrooms and learning spaces are large and well lit with windows and ample storage. Open common areas are found on each hallway to provide teachers with multifunctional space near classrooms.
Gresham also includes an indoor amphitheater that currently seats approximately 125 people, a large library with an adjoining computer lab, and a cafeteria that currently seats approximately 150 students.
Students at Gresham can utilize several recreational spaces for physical education and athletic activity. A large, flat playground is located directly behind the school and includes an open field, walking track, and space for a variety of playground equipment. The school’s gym features a hardwood court, retractable stage, domed roof and balcony. Two athletic fields on the school property provide additional opportunities for outdoor sports such as football, soccer, and baseball.
The exterior of the building is not as attractive as the interior, but essentially cosmetic improvements could greatly enhance the appearance of the school.
Below are some pictures of the interior of the building along with an architect’s rendering of how the exterior might be improved.
A visit to Gresham was very helpful to me as I narrowed the focus of our discussion regarding the next plan to accommodate the needs of our growing student enrollment. I encourage you to get involved in the coming days as we explore options for potential uses of this campus.
Charles Mason, Ed.D.
VHCS Interim Superintendent
Gresham Elementary School (Aerial view of campus property)
Gresham Elementary School, October 2017
Gresham Elementary School Exterior (current vs. architect's rendering)