The school combines students from the now-closed Brown Elementary School and Teasley Elementary School. Parents got a chance to see the building at a dedication ceremony Sunday and say they’re impressed with the new space.
“It’s a big step,” said Nancy Marcello as her third-grader, Elvis, explored his new surroundings.
Her son was a student at Brown, and Marcello is nervous about the transition from a smaller school to one with more than 800 students, but she’s happy to see her son have the opportunity to learn in a new environment.
“It goes both ways,” she said.
She’s not alone.
Kendall Woods was nervous about the transition for his first-grade son, Isaac, but after touring the building, he’s on board.
“We think the school has a lot to offer,” Woods said. “We just think it’s going to be a better school than Teasley.”
With Isaac nearby checking out the toys and books available in one of the school’s first-grade classrooms, Woods said he’s optimistic about a good school year.
The almost 144,000-square-foot building can house 960 students and is equipped with new technology and boasts a learning garden that gives each grade level a portion of the outdoor space to use for instruction.
“We’re overwhelmed with the technology we’ve been given” said Jessica Halbandian, a first grade teacher.
Outdoor fields will be open to the public after school hours and on weekends.
The school is having an open house Tuesday. Those with last names beginning with A through M will be able to meet their teachers from 8 to 10 a.m., with last names starting with N through Z following from 10 a.m. until noon.
The school will see its first students Wednesday, the first day of school for Cobb County.
For some, the school’s debut is about more than education. They are hoping it will be a catalyst for community improvement.
“For me, this school being built is not only going to be a good thing for us, but we’re looking forward to what this will do for the community,” said Michelle Murphy, co-president of the Smyrna Elementary Parent Teacher Association. “If Smyrna wants good schools, Smyrna needs to get involved.”
Terri Anulewicz, who represents the school’s area on the Smyrna City Council, likened the effect she hopes it will have to the “halo effect” seen when Market Village, a shopping center that aims to have a downtown feel, opened in October 2002.
“This is going to be such a boon for Smyrna,” she said.
It’s the product of cooperation, said principal Brett Ward who was in the same position at Brown Elementary.
“This school reflects the partnership of extraordinary people in the community who have made this dream a reality,” Ward said.