Bellview Elementary School invites members of the community to help celebrate the old Bellview and welcome the new one tonight from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

"We are saying goodbye to the 1950s and 1960s additions and preparing for the construction of a new building next year along with the refurbishment of the original 1929 section of the building," said Christine McCollum, principal at Bellview Elementary. "In less than a month, on the Monday after school lets out for summer vacation, we will start the abatement process and on July — we will begin demolition."

Bellview alumni are especially encouraged to attend tonight's event to help identify old photographs. These photos, along with memoirs, will be made into a historical gallery at the new school, set to open in September 2009.

"This evening's event will be a great time for the community to come together," McCollum said. "Music will be playing in the gym, cake and punch will be served in the cafeteria and our fifth-graders will be leading guided historical tours of the building."

Many alumni have children who currently attend Bellview.

"I look forward to seeing other alumni at tonight's event and catching up with them," said Amanda Ray, a Bellview alumna whose daughter is in first grade at Bellview. "Although I'll be sad to see the old Bellview gone, I'm excited that my daughter and the other children will have a brand new school building."

Jeff and Linda Gerschler, who graduated from Bellview in the late '70s and early '80s, are glad their 6-year-old was able to attend kindergarten in the old building. When asked about their feelings of the old/new Bellview, the Gerschlers wrote, "Saying goodbye to the old Bellview Elementary is like leaving an old friend. The halls echo memories of laughter, pride and learning. Past and future generations can revel in a new school designed to empower and inspire young learners."

Bellview Elementary is located at 1070 Tolman Creek Road in Ashland. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the school at 482-1310.