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Dynamiters Have a Grand Time
Rededicating Renovated School

They're not likely to bring back the old nickname, deemed inappropriate for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders, when P.S. du Pont becomes a middle school next year, but it was 'Dynamiters All the Way' as grads joined current students to celebrate the makeover of the historic building in what used to be known as Wilmington's Ninth Ward.

 

The youngsters literally reached out to folks a generation, or two, or three, removed.

The school reopened in August after a $44 million renovation, far and away the largest such project ever undertaken in the state. Unlike other major renovations, however, it was not a matter of gutting the shell and starting over. It had been decided even before the planning began that as much of the accouterments of the 73-year-old structure as possible would be preserved while, as Brandywine schools superintendent Jim Scanlon put it, "we plugged in the modern technologies."

That much of the old flavor of the building was preserved as it was brought up to current structural, operational and education standards was evident to those who took advantage of an invitation to roam through the four floors after the rededication proceedings were completed. Nowhere was that more evident than in the library where most of the signature room remains intact adjacent to a computer lab.

More than 1,000 alumni, parents and community residents turned out for the event in Oct. 16. That was in addition to the 400 or so students and staff members who made the evening work.

The completely renewed 1,200-seat auditorium was nearly full.

The formal presentation was anything but formal. It was conducted as entertainment -- for the most part by the youngsters. And it was difficult to tell whether it was the presenters or the audience who were having more fun.

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