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Elementary schools welcome expansion to handle growth

Posted: August 2, 2017 - 1:37am
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The fourth grade wing of the new Cedar Ridge Elementary School expansion. The total expansion holds 16 new classrooms and will accommodate more than 200 new students due to rezoning.
The fourth grade wing of the new Cedar Ridge Elementary School expansion. The total expansion holds 16 new classrooms and will accommodate more than 200 new students due to rezoning.

With the next large rezoning taking full effect next week in Columbia County Schools, two elementary schools have received building additions to accommodate the growing numbers.

Cedar Ridge and Baker Place elementary schools both received additions to the school buildings.

Cedar Ridge Principal Leanne Gregg said the first group of fifth and fourth graders were able to complete the school year in the new 16-class wing added on to the school last year.

"We are rather large now, but it's great to have a new section of the building," Gregg said. "Now I can have all of my kids under the roof. I have the ability to make sure they're all together."

The new wing at Cedar Ridge consists of 16 classrooms, including a computer lab, and an additional teacher's lounge and office for the instructional specialist.

According to Gregg, since the school's construction in 2007, it has added 10 mobile units outside the school, holding approximately 25-30 students in each.

"We had all of our fifth grade in our mobile units on the front side of the building and then half of our fourth grade in mobile units on the back side of this building," Gregg said. "So now, with the new wing, we have the ability to have everybody together, so no split grade levels or anything like that."

Gregg said with the rezoning this year, the school sent 180 students to the new Grovetown Elementary School and is ready to take on an additional 240 students from an ever-growing Baker Place Elementary.

"That consists pretty much of the neighborhood of Canterbury Farms," Gregg said. "There wasn't a wide range. It's just there are a lot of kids in that one neighborhood."

The rezoning will put the school's projected attendance up to 1,150 students in grades K-5.

And Gregg said the building's new wing will be able to accomodate the increased number of students this new school year still leaving a little more room for growth.

"We have maybe one classroom left that we have some room for growth," Gregg said, noting a shift in the student population. "Our growth in this community seems to be kind of spreading out to the outskirts of Cedar Ridge. A lot of it is taking place out of Baker Place area."

Baker Place Elementary also received a building expansion to include 14 new classrooms, similar to Cedar Ridge, to accomodate the growth there.

"We are real close to the military base here, so we have a lot of people moving into this area, and with that our schools are growing," Gregg said.

With the new addition ready for students, Gregg said the school has also welcomed a number of new teachers from Baker Place Elementary School as well.

Gregg said the school is freshly polished and painted, and is ready to welcome students back, during what she said is her favorite time of the school year.

"Everything is so fresh and new. Everyone has had the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. We have a new focus for the year and they have a new classroom full of students who are very eager to come back as well," Gregg said. "It's exciting for them and it's exciting for me. We are just all so eager to be here and impact the next set of kids in a positive way."

 

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