On April 7, 2021, the Baldwin–Whitehall School Board of Directors voted to name its newest school building R. A. Lutz Elementary School, in honor of current Baldwin–Whitehall School District (BWSD) Superintendent Randal A. Lutz, Ed. D. The new building is designed to meet the needs of the swiftly–increasing number of BWSD students in grades 3–5, with an anticipated enrollment of 1200 students in these grades by the 2022-23 school year. The construction of R. A. Lutz Elementary is scheduled to begin in late 2021 and is expected to be completed by August 2023.
"The naming of the District's new school building was of extreme importance to the Board," said BWSD School Board President Dr. Anthony DiCesaro. "Our plans evolved over several discussions regarding what or who should be considered for the school's name. Each time we spoke, it came back to Dr. Lutz and his decades–long commitment to the students of the District. His leadership has always charted new paths for the District, creating a culture in which all who learn and work here feel supported to "dare greatly," to explore and to try. Dr. Lutz's response to the challenges of the past year have further revealed his strength of character and the depth of concern for our school communities – it's made this decision an easy one."
The naming of R. A. Lutz Elementary coincides with BWSD's restructuring of the grade ranges that are served by its five schools, making it possible for all students, regardless of address, to benefit from the new school building.
Currently, McAnnulty Elementary School serves students in both Kindergarten and first grade as a feeder school to Whitehall Elementary School which serves grades 2-5 students. But beginning with the 2023–2024 school year, McAnnulty will become the District's single Kindergarten school serving approximately 400 students, Whitehall Elementary will become the District's primary school serving an expected 800 students in grades 1–2, and Lutz Elementary will serve approximately 1200 students in grades 3–5. J.E. Harrison Middle School and Baldwin High School will continue to serve grades 6–8 and 9–12, respectively.
R. A. Lutz Elementary is planned to become a leading-edge, 48-classroom facility designed by HHSDR Architects & Engineers.
"I am extremely grateful to the School Board of Directors for this unexpected decision," said Dr. Lutz. "Serving the students, families, and community of Baldwin–Whitehall has been my great honor for more than 20 years. My hope is to ensure that Lutz Elementary will provide a welcoming, engaging, and enriching educational environment where learners from all across our entire District will feel inspired and supported for many years to come."
Lutz Elementary will replace W.R. Paynter Elementary School, which was built in 1969 served District family for nearly a half-century. In depth feasibility studies of the District's schools determined that constructing a new facility that can better serve Baldwin–Whitehall's rapidly-growing population of young families is a more cost-effective solution than renovating the existing Paynter structure.
A Baldwin native and a graduate of Baldwin High School, Dr. Lutz has served District families for over 24 years and became Superintendent in 2012. He resides in Baldwin with his wife, Judy, and daughters Carly and Jenna.
Prepared for the April issue of Highlander Highlights.