Students, faculty and staff at John G. Hardin Elementary School in Burkburnett are ready for a new beginning, but first, they had to say goodbye to the past.

This year marks eight decades that the John G. Hardin building has served as the elementary… And at the end of school today.. it will have a new purpose. 

The John G. Hardin Elementary building has had children pass through its hallways for the last 80 years, and today was its very last. 

“Brought tears to some eyes. That moving on song at the end is just perfect. It was a great ceremony,” Danny W. Taylor, former Burkburnett ISD Superintendent, said. 

A decommissioning ceremony on Thursday, allowing alumni a chance to reflect on their childhood memories.

“I remember eating in the cafeteria,” Taylor said. “I can remember those tin trays. It was a great experience, lifelong friendships, folks that no longer live here will call and say remember when we were in grade school.”

Making way for new memories as current students will start the new school in the fall of 2018 in the new 37.9 million dollar bond approved school.

“It’s got three different pods as we like to call it; one for third, one for fourth, and one for fifth,” Tylor Chaplin, Burkburnett ISD Superintendent, said. “At the center of each pod is a science lab that also doubles as a storm shelter.” 

Chaplin said the philosophy going into building the new elementary was not to have rows of desks and chairs. 

“But one of where teachers can come together and groups of students can come together in groups and they can communicate with each other on whatever problem, lesson or learning experience they had,” Chaplin said.  

However, they’re not forgetting about the original space which will be turned into the administrative building. 

“It also enables us to come together more as an administrative staff as a central admin all under one roof where we can hopefully be more efficient moving the district forward,” Chaplin said. “It’s a great time to be in Burkburnett.” 

A great time to remember the past while always looking to the future. 

The new elementary is going to be named after the school’s first African-American principal Overton Ray.