The new Richmond Hill Elementary School has begun the first stages of construction.
The Bryan County Board of Education held a dedication last week for its newest addition to the school district.
Work began at the site behind Carver Elementary School on Nov. 8 and the new RHES is tentatively slated to be completed in time for the 2009-2010 school year.
The Richmond Hill High School ROTC led 770 elementary school children and their teachers, singing "This Land is Your Land," outside to stand with parents and local officials to see the architectural plans and celebrate in the dedication. Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer said thousands of hours have gone into the drawings and plans for the new school.
"I’m so excited about this," said RHES Principal Walt Barnes.
Board member Mary Warnell said currently, about one-third of the students are in portables. This new school will house all the children, with room to grow.
The pinwheel design of the new building is unique in that it will allow administrators to view all the hallways at once, according to Civil Engineer Robert Oetting of James W. Buckley and Associates Architecture.
Oetting said theirs is the largest school architectural firm outside Atlanta, and they have completed several schools very similar to the new RHES. While the firm has designed several small-scale projects for Bryan County, this will be their first full layout.
Once the new RHES is completed, the current building will most likely be used for a number of things.
While Brewer said the board has not yet voted on anything definite, some general ideas have been considered.
"We haven’t voted on it yet. But we’ve talked about it," she said. "We’ve discussed using it for pre-kindergarten classes. We currently have five classes there now in portables and two classes over at the primary school."
Brewer said the school will also likely be used for additional office space, the community education program night classes and for in-school suspension and alternative school children.
"The children were very well behaved," Brewer said after the dedication. "I do not believe in interrupting instruction, but today, I asked Principal Barnes if I could interrupt. I announced to the teachers that I appreciated this dedication very much. We didn’t get the okay to do this until Thursday so we only had Friday, (Nov. 2), to plan this. I thanked the teachers for their help and the students for their very good behavior. This morning, those 770 students gave me a moment I will never forget."