NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Parents and other city residents filled the halls of Paul Robeson Community School on Thursday night to celebrate the re-opening of the building after a two-year expansion and renovation.
Students performed dance works and showed off their art for the adults who came to see the school that was closed in 2016. Work was completed in time for students to return last month.
Through the $47.1 million project, 60,000 square feet were added to the building for general classrooms, science rooms, multi-purpose rooms and arts and music rooms, and included the addition of a third floor to the school.
"Arts are woven into everything we do here at the school," said Lee Neamand, supervisor of fine, visual and performing arts for the city schools.
One artwork selected for display that night was a mosaic of Paul Robeson that eighth-grade student Yanilsa Peralta created using small squares depicting different portions of Robeson's life.
"It's about how he was in sports, how he went to Rutgers College. He was a writer, and singer and actor," Peralta said.
Students performed dance and the hallway and on the stage in a multi-pupose room.
The school has classes for students from kindergarten through eight grade, but district Superintendent Dr. Aubrey Johnson said the goal is to reach beyond those grades.
"We want it to feel like high school. We want to give that exposure to them earlier," Johnson said.
There are also classes in creative writing, public speaking, graphic design, photography and electronic music.