November 7, 2002, Lancaster, CA - When it began to look like rain on Thursday morning Jack Northrop Elementary School Principal Karen Stults redirected the school's scheduled groundbreaking ceremony indoors. By taking a child's swimming pool, filling it with dirt and placing it on stage in the temporary multi-purpose room, she brought the ground inside on what proved to be a wet day. Dignitaries, politicians, honored guests and District employees were invited onstage, golden shovels in hand, to shovel dirt from the brown paper-covered wading pool into an orange wheel barrow.

Lancaster School District hosted the groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of construction on Jack Northrop Elementary School. The event took place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, November 7 at 835 East Avenue K-4 (the site of the future elementary school).

"Jack Northrop Elementary School reflects Lancaster School District's commitment to providing a safe, quality learning environment," says Principal Karen Stults. "The new building design supports the school's focus as a science and technology magnet."

The estimated $10.9 million school is being built with funds from the Measure A school bond, "Classrooms for Kids," which was approved by the community on March 2, 1999.

District Architects Flewelling & Moody designed the space to reflect the region's emphasis on the aerospace industry. (The stealth bomber was the basis for the design of Jack Northrop, with several areas of the school emulating the aircraft's design.) The skylight in the entryway and materials used throughout the school also reflect the influence of the aerospace industry.

The use of natural light, including skylights, and open structure at the building's main entrance creates an inviting space. The school is also equipped with motion sensor lights as an energy management system.

The 61,329 square ft. campus includes a 6,550 square ft. multi-purpose room, a 930 square ft. computer technology lab, 1,384 square ft. of library space, administrative facilities and 32,980 square ft. of classroom space. Classrooms are equipped to support technology and Internet connectivity. Outdoors, the school will have hard court and field areas. Construction is expected to last a little over one year.

The K-5 campus will accommodate 800 students, and is scheduled to open in 2004.