John Rex Elementary School Celebrates Grand Opening

Friday, September 12th 2014, 8:46 pm
By: News 9

Imagine seeing the Devon Tower up close from your classroom window. That's a reality for about 320 students in downtown Oklahoma City, who attend John Rex Charter Elementary School.

It's the first new downtown grade school in decades.

It was a standing room-only ceremony for a state of the art school that still has some phases under construction.

"You were here when the gym floor was cement, when the basketball goal didn't have a net, but a very select few will be able to say they were here on opening day," Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said.

Local dignitaries, including Kirk Humphreys, Robert Neu and Dr. Valerie Thompson talked about the $12 million facility that marks the last of the MAPS for Kids projects.

Situated on the bustling corner of Sheridan and Walker, the 76,000-square feet building is tough to miss.

"All the opportunities they have now, my kid wants to go to the art museum now, and he never even knew it existed before," said Amanda Breninger, whose son is in kindergarten. “I love it, because when I come pick him up, we can walk around downtown, and he's giving me a tour of the city saying, 'Mom, you need to drive this way to the library.'"

1/21/2014 Related Story: New Tuition-Free Public Charter School Opening In Downtown OKC

The school opened last month to pre-kindergarten through second-grade students but will go to the sixth grade.

John W. Rex was a civic leader and child advocate who passed away in 2006.

"It kind of makes my heart turn over to think, and I wish he were here to see it," Rex's wife, Berta Faye Rex, said.

“My father spent years thinking about the kids, and to build this building and have it named after him is just really an exciting culmination of the MAPS project, quite amazing,” Rex's son, John Rex, said.

“This would've been a big deal to him," said Rex's son, David Rex. "I don't know that he would have accepted the honor, but he would've been proud.”

The school's modern features are a cut above the rest, and the kids couldn't wait to do the ribbon cutting. With accent-colored walls, floors and classrooms, even the playground is eye-catching.

Parents are pumped about the built-in storm shelter and the nice cafeteria.

"I got a little emotional a few times just because I'm so happy the kids are happy," said Moriah Guild, who has a first-grader and a preschooler at the school. “They weren't as happy at their last school, so I'm thrilled now for all the arts and diversity they'll be exposed to.”

There is a waiting list to get in. Parents can apply for the next school year in February. 

Learn more about the John Rex Charter Elementary School.