Grovetown Middle School's 415 pupils began the second semester at their new school Friday.
Though there may be some wiggle room, Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau said it won't be long before its classes are filled.
"It's a great day," he said at the dedication ceremony Friday morning. "This is going to be the catalyst for more growth in the city," said Trudeau. "It's time to start working on our new high school."
There are at least six empty classrooms at the school to accommodate new growth. But Trudeau said in the next two to three years, 1,308 new residences will be built in Grovetown, most around the school. On Friday, nine new pupils enrolled.
School officials said things ran smoothly Friday. It was first time the school system has attempted a midyear opening. Schools Superintendent Tommy Price said the school system wanted to get the pupils in the new school as soon as possible to relieve overcrowding at Harlem Middle School.
"I think it's great," said parent Sheila Gilbert, who attended the dedication at Grovetown Middle School where her daughter, a sixth-grader, attends. "I'm really impressed they finished on time. I'm glad to see them out of those portables."
Since the beginning of the school year, both schools have been housed at Harlem Middle School - Grovetown Middle pupils and teachers in the 20 portable classrooms behind the school.
"It's huge," said Grovetown Middle School Student Council President Latasha Abraham, who was given the honor of cutting the ribbon, along with other school officials. "We don't have to be outside anymore and in those trailers. Here, we're all together. It's really nice."
Built by LPS Construction of Statesboro, Ga., the $10.5 million Grovetown Middle School includes 40 classrooms and has the capacity to house 650 pupils. Construction began on the school Feb. 1.
As school officials had anticipated, the gymnasium is not complete and health will be taught in classrooms until that wing is opened. The contractor has promised the school system that is will meet its Jan. 16 deadline for final completion.
The new Grovetown Middle School:
* Has 40 classrooms - 26 regular classrooms, six science labs, three specialty rooms for business, technology and consumer science, a band room, art room and a gymnasium
* Cost $10.5 million to build, about half state and half local money
* Is, at 11 months and two days of construction, the fastest construction of a school in the county, according to school officials
* Is the county's seventh middle school and the first new school built in Grovetown in 40 years
* Has sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade wings each with three empty classrooms to accommodate future growth.
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