aitkin elementary school

The Aitken School in Seekonk has been renovated and expanded. An open house is being held Saturday.

SEEKONK — The $10 million Aitken School renovation and addition has wrapped up in time for the new school year.

This Saturday, residents can see what their tax dollars paid for at an open house at the Newman Avenue (Route 152) elementary school.

The expansion features a 10-classroom and seven-bathroom addition. One of the classrooms is a makerspace where students can take part in various creative activities. The project also brings a new preschool playground.

The open house with guided tours is scheduled for noon to 2 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for 1 p.m.

The ceremony will include remarks from Superintendent Rich Drolet, Principal John Haidemenos, school committee chair Kim Sluter, and Jackie Proulx, who chaired the Aitken Expansion Building Committee that Sluter also sits on.

Light refreshments will be served at the event.

Voters approved the project at a special election in June 2019. It’s being paid for with a tax hike approved through an override of Proposition 2 1/2 tax-limiting law and state financial assistance.

The addition was desperately needed, school officials say, as the town’s two elementary schools were getting crowded. Modular classrooms were used at Aitken.

With the additional room, the district will be able to maintain its smaller class sizes, accommodate special programming, and provide students with personalized learning, officials added.

“It’s really exciting to be reaching the completion of this amazing expansion project,” Proulx said. “The end result is an outstanding educational facility that will provide our students and our teachers with the space, equipment and a variety of settings in which to thrive.”

A new HVAC system and new boilers have also been installed in the older part of the school building. In addition, an outdoor classroom has been constructed and modifications have been made to the school’s parking lot.

Some of the work temporarily delayed the start of a hybrid education schedule for students, and they had to start the school year last September learning completely from home.

The project was finished ahead of schedule and under budget, school officials added.

“I’d like to thank the school committee, the school building committee, finance committee and board of selectmen, and of course all of the taxpayers who funded and invested in this important asset,” Sluter said.

Drolet also mentioned the Seekonk Educators Association along with the other parties “for their conscientious support in bringing the project to fruition. Without all of their dedication and tireless efforts, this project wouldn’t have been possible.”

A virtual tour of Aitken’s new building expansion was unveiled earlier this summer.