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Thursday, 29 May 2014 00:00

Beloit's Burdge Elementary closes with a community commemoration

Written by  Ian Gronau/Stateline News

STATELINE NEWS -- The bell signaling summer break for Burdge Elementary students will ring for the final time in a week. The district will close the 97-year- old school and hold a celebration on June 8 to commemorate its service and impact on the community.

Originally built in 1917, Burdge Elementary was named after Richard J. Burdge, a prominent Beloit attorney, school board member for 20 years, mayor, Wisconsin legislator and a director of Beloit Iron Works.

At one point in 1978, the school was rebuilt and renovated. Secretary Pat Rorh, who has worked at the school for 33 years, feels that it has built some endearing ties to the community.

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"It’s a family oriented school," Rorh said. "We’ve had parents very involved in students’ lives here and we’ve always had a staff that can’t be beat."

The celebration will feature school tours, a pictorial timeline, a program and among other things, a chance to reunite with alumni and community members.

Melissa Badger, com-

munications coordinator at the School District of Beloit, feels that the school deserves a proper send-off from the community.

"It’s truly a neighborhood school and people are very proud of it," Badger said. "I think it’s only proper that we have a good closure for them and for the rest of the district."

The event will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the program beginning at 2 p.m. at 321 Olympian Blvd. in Beloit.

"The program will feature former students and their families, former staff, the principal and then we are also going to present our William B. Heebink scholarship for the first time this year to two high school students who attended Burdge," Rorh said. "Then we are also going to have some of our former Traveling Troupe members sing a song from America Sings."

The closure of the school may be a nostalgic affair, but it represents the next stage in the planned transition of the school district to the intermediate model.

"The whole referendum, besides making some badly needed updates to our schools, is about moving to an intermediate school model," Badger said. "Right now we have primary schools, we are going to combine those schools so we have 4 through 8 grade intermediate schools."

"It’s a chance for our district, our community and alumni to come together and take a walk down memory lane and celebrate Burdge one last time," Badger said.

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