Fort Rucker to open cutting edge elementary school named after ‘godfather of Army aviation’

Local News

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (WDHN) — Fort Rucker will be opening their new elementary school this fall welcoming students for in-person, remote, and virtual learning options.

“This truly has been a 3-year process of building this new beautiful school, so we have been in two locations now running the primary school and the former elementary school in a temporary location, so to actually be able to walk down the hallway now and to look at what’s coming it just really gives me goosebumps,” principal Dr. Vicki Gilmer said.

The school is Pre-K through 6th grade and a tri-level building. It is considered a 21st-century school, with a community collaborative feel.

“The whole building is designed with the Army aviation theme, but also, it is designed to be a learning facility so as the kids go from one area to another,” Gilmer said. “They aren’t just walking down halls of you know Brick and mortar they are walking down halls ways that have learning objectives.”

The hallways have interactive flat panels that have data dashboards that show information about the school’s energy conservation system and more. As a DODEA School, they do not have to abide by Alabama guidelines when it comes to COVID-19 precautions, but they are still implementing certain guidelines.

“We are really concentrating on the CDC Guidelines as well as the DODEA Guidelines,” Gilmer said. “We have our safety protocols and health directives, we are working very hard to make sure that every area of this building is safe, both for students and for the staff members.”

The school has officially been named after retired Lt. General Ellis D. Parker. The school has several unique features including a band room, a science room, an art room, and even a rock-climbing wall.

Parker spent a lot of time in the Wiregrass even after he retired.

He dedicated his life to Army Aviation and died just a few months ago on March 26.

“It’s perfect on so many levels to name the school for General Ellis D. Parker, you know as the godfather of Army aviation,” Colonel Whitney Gardner said. “You know you look at this school and the design, everything about aviation was considered in the design of the school.”

The theme across the school is aviation, so most of the design features are shaped like aircraft wings and propellers.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school is planned for Sept. 29.

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