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Staff, students returning to new-look Lafayette Meadows Elementary School

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – When students show up for the first day of school at Lafayette Meadows Elementary, they’ll note a new gym, new playground, new classrooms — and the largest enrollment in the school’s history.

With a $10 million expansion now complete, the far-southwest Allen County school will enroll about 700 students. Most of the 100-plus transfers previously attended Covington Elementary, the biggest school in the Southwest Allen County Schools corporation.

Crews were busy Thursday on last-minute work and cleaning up from a year of construction.

Principal Jenny Fedele, now in her seventh year at Lafayette Meadows, said parents will see a difference immediately.

Lift-up doors allow classrooms at Lafayette Meadows Elementary to connect with a multi-purpose hallway.

“Coming in for school events, they’re going to be able to see and hear from their kids all the things they can do in an open environment that they can’t do in a closed classroom,” she said.

A new wing that houses fourth and fifth grades will anchor that “open” approach. It features garage door-type partitions that can be raised to connect all of the classrooms along a hallway that is designed to do much more than handle foot traffic.

Lafayette Meadows is one of six elementary schools in the district, which also includes Summit and Woodside middle schools and Homestead High School.

Each campus is holding a “back to school” open house on Monday.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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