Pleasant Ridge Elementary School
Principal: Michelle Dyer
A Short History of Pleasant Ridge Elementary School - By B. Holt
The original Pleasant Ridge Elementary School opened in Charlestown in 1943. It was constructed by the federal government for children of military personnel, and other employees, assigned to the Army Ammunition Plant during World War II. Six additional classrooms were added to PR in 1958. For many years the building housed grades K-2, with grades 3-5 at the nearby Jonathan Jennings Elementary.
By the late 1980's, the original building was beginning to show its age: the roof needed replacement, the walls were cracking, and the general condition of the facility was poor. The classrooms were small and not suited to modern teaching methods. There were also no art or music rooms. It was decided that a major change was needed.
A plan with three options was unveiled: construct a new school at a new site; build two new, separate, facilities at the old PRES location; or construct two new buildings with a shared cafeteria, library, and other rooms. Renovating the original PR was deemed to be too expensive.
After careful consideration, option number one was selected. Land was purchased just across from Charlestown High School, on Monroe Street and Fulkerson Drive. The company of Kissinger and Associate Architects of Clarksville drew up plans for the new school. The design called for the school to be arranged around four octagons, or classroom pods. This allowed a more efficient use of space since hallways would only make up 6% of the new facility. (Most schools have 12-16% of interior space devoted to hallways.) The square footage would be 62,000 and the capacity of the building was set at about 500 students. The cafeteria was designed to seat 240 and the gym 264.
Jonathan Jennings Elementary was also renovated. Another change would see both schools house grades K-5 after the new PR opened, in contrast to the previous K-2 and grade 3-5 arrangement.
A ground breaking ceremony was held on Sunday, August 25, 1991 at 2:00 PM. Many local adults and children attended. It was planned to have the new building ready by the start of the 1992-1993 school year. Total cost: over 4 million dollars.
Construction proceeded close to schedule and the new PRES opened in August 1992. The old PR was demolished soon afterwards. The design plans for Pleasant Ridge were later used to build our "sister" school, Utica Elementary, which opened in the fall of 2000.