Constructed to meet the needs of Westtown-Thornbury School District’s growing enrollment, Penn Wood Elementary School opened its doors to 334 students on February 28, 1966, becoming the second elementary school serving Westtown-Thornbury students. Situated on 16 wooded acres on the south side of Johnny’s Way, the property continues to provide ample opportunities for students to receive hands-on science instruction.
Penn Wood was the last school to open prior to consolidation being finalized in July 1966. Burton C. Willis was president of the Joint Westtown-Thornbury School Board when Penn Wood opened. William Buffington, Jr., was the first principal. With a construction cost of $913,000, the original building was designed by architect Samuel Carothers and contained 12 open-ended classrooms; they did not have doors or doorways.
A $286,000 six-room addition was added in 1969, with another major addition in 1988 that provided the school with all new windows and a new gymnasium floor for the 1999-2000 school year. A $9,475,300 renovation and construction plan broke ground in March 2012. During the first phase of the project – completion expected by the end of 2012 - a new hallway/walkway will be constructed through the main courtyard, connecting the grade two and grade four wings and allowing for handicap accessibility to those areas of the school. Also included in this phase are the addition of two new music classrooms, four new student restrooms, 2 new faculty restrooms, a new cafeteria storage area and new teacher workroom. Renovation of six classrooms, the main office, student support services area, and nurse’s suite will be completed over the summer months. The cafeteria, kitchen, faculty dining room, gymnasium, stage and existing restrooms will also be overhauled in this phase. The back two wings of the school will be renovated the summer of 2013. At the completion of this project, all classrooms will become traditional “closed” rooms with individual entrances.
Today, Penn Wood serves students from three townships and two counties – Westtown Township, Thornbury Chester County, and Thornbury Delaware County. Penn Wood Elementary, Westtown-Thornbury Elementary and East Bradford Elementary schools will be the first three elementary schools to be renovated through the district’s elementary school construction plan being instituted beginning 2012.
Penn Wood Elementary students attend Stetson Middle and Rustin High Schools.