- Norris Middle
Celebrating Our Newest Elementary Schools
With two grand celebrations, Omaha Public Schools unveiled its final new schools for 2022, Pine Elementary in the Little Italy neighborhood and Forest Station Elementary in Bellevue.
Celebrations included school tours, staff introductions and an opportunity for students to meet their new school mascot’s real-life counterparts. Orion the owl, courtesy of Fontenelle Forest, joined students at Forest Station while the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium brought along a porcupine to Pine Elementary.
The energy-efficient new schools feature bold and colorful designs with plenty of natural lighting plus unique additions such as alternate seating options, movable furniture and nontraditional learning spaces.
“They (students) deserve to learn in a place like this - that is warm, that is inviting and is special,” Superintendent Cheryl Logan, Ed.D., said at Forest Station’s opening event. “It’s all about relationships. And we look forward to many years of relationships where children will be known, they will be loved, and hopefully, they will be inspired.”
Pine Elementary will also feature an outdoor learning space and a gym that was an original part of Grace University, which previously owned the property. It’s one way the new school honors its community.
“It’s a very tight community that wants what we all want, which is the very best for the students here,” Adriana Vargas, principal at Pine, said. “They’re excited to have a new school in the community and were excited as well. We can’t wait to start working together to support our students.”
Forest Station includes intervention and sensory rooms for extra student support and open, flexible learning spaces. The fresh space has invigorated the staff as they kick off their first year in the building.
“In lots of ways, it’s like a book that’s being written,” Forest Station Principal Shelly Burghardt said. “I know there's going to be many chapters to come and many sequels. I’m anxious to see what those will be, but right now, it’s just the enthusiasm in the building is overwhelming.”
This August, Forest Station and Pine Elementaries open alongside Buena Vista and Westview Highs. Each school is an investment from the Omaha Public Schools bond program. The $409.9 million bond, approved by voters in 2018, allowed our district to build new schools and improve many others.
“Our community showed their faith in us by giving us the bond to work with our kids and build outstanding educational environments for our kids,” said Charles Wakefield, Omaha Public Schools' chief operating officer.
The final new school, Bluestem Middle, will open in fall 2023. A comprehensive list of other bond program projects is updated regularly on our website.