Dozens of dads listened intently Friday as Susan Anglemyer, principal of the Millard Public Schools' Upchurch Elementary, gave them their marching, er, moving orders.
Work had just wrapped up on the school's $1.5 million addition of six classrooms, part of the $79.9 million bond issue district voters approved last May.
The school had put out a call asking dads to volunteer to move stools and desks, tables and bins, into the new space, so the teachers wouldn't have to do it over the holiday break.
Anything with a green tag had to go, Anglemyer said. Each item's destination was listed on the tags by room number. The only caution: Don't ding the newly finished walls and door frames.
“It's a really nice holiday gift you're giving,” Anglemyer said, thanking the “Dad Army,” as someone dubbed it later, moved out.
It wasn't just the roughly 40 dads who were involved in Friday's move. About 45 moms also were in the building, located near 168th Street and Giles Road, supervising students so teachers could pack and help direct the flow of furniture.
The school brought in a local author and a mad scientist to provide fun yet educational activities for the students. They connected by Skype with the man who performs in the fitness videos the school uses during indoor recess.
Soon dads were streaming through the halls with bookshelves, desks and boxes. Many had taken time off work to help. That included Joe Wilson, husband of second-grade teacher Cheri Wilson. He borrowed a dolly to wheel a file cabinet into his wife's new classroom.
“And away we go,” he said. Such efforts, he added, are “things you do to help out the schools.”
“It's amazing,” Cheri Wilson said as the dads streamed in. “They are wonderful people.”
Cheri Wilson immediately started moving some items from the pile in the middle of her new room into the cabinets along the wall. Her goal is to get everything moved into place over the break and decorate walls later.
In another hallway, Bret Basye, an administrative intern, a position similar to assistant principal, organized another push.
“Can I get a group of guys?” he said. “I've got a 10- to 15-minute window. I need to get Mr. Schram's stuff out of the library.”
Mr. Schram is Nick Schram, a fourth-grade teacher.
Because of the construction, three existing classrooms had been taken out of commission, and Schram's classroom this fall was in the computer lab. The computer lab had been moved temporarily to the library.
Now it was time to get things back in order.
“The puzzle pieces that go on in this situation are amazing,” Basye said.
A group of dads quickly went into action. Some, by then, had broken a sweat.
“Getting a good workout today?” Basye said.
“Oh, yeah,” a dad replied.
The group then moved on to the next room, a line of dads carrying kid desks.
“I wish when I moved houses it was this fast,” dad Kurt Burbach said.