According to District Communications Director Julie Thompson, enrollment for grades 4K-12 currently stands at 16, 240.
Some of those students began their 2011-2012 school year as the first students to enter their new schools. Pickens High School, Liberty High School, Chastain Elementary, Dacusville Elementary and the Pickens County Career and Technology Center are the first five of the new schools constructed as part of the district’s facilities plan to open their doors to students.
McKissick and Liberty elementaries opened after going major renovations, Thompson said. Construction is ongoing at Edwards and Dacusville Middle Schools.
“It has been an amazing day opening Chastain Road Elementary!” said Chastain Road Elementary School Principal Elliot Southard Tuesday. “With the start of any school year, the first day can be somewhat hectic, but with the first day at a brand new school, the challenges were even greater.
From making sure that students were in the right classrooms to figuring out how they need to go through the lunch line to finding out which bus they need to ride home, we have been running at warp speed since early this morning,” he said. “However, with the wonderful cooperation of our entire faculty and staff, we have still been able to have a successful start to the school year!”
Leonard Williams, the director of the Career and Technology Center said the school is off “to a great start.”
“The students love the new school,” he said. “There have been no problems encountered.”
Liberty High School Principal Lori Gwinn said traffic problems were minor the first day at the new high school.
“The experience has been amazing,” she said Tuesday morning. “In spite of a few ceiling leaks and the AC not working as well as we hoped, it has been a great day.
“We’re learning,” Gwinn continued. “With a new building there are so many things you don’t think of until children occupy it. However, we’re troubleshooting those tasks as quickly as questions arise and addressing student needs. We can’t say thank you enough for these facilities and the opportunities they provide our students. We expect great things from our students, including increases in student achievement. There’s nothing like the first day of school. It is everything and more that we’ve planned for over the past few months. We’re even more excited about what tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year brings for Liberty High School.”
Pickens High School Principal Marion Lawson said his school saw some minor traffic hang ups on opening day, but other than that, Pickens High had “an excellent opening day.”
“The traffic flow was a bit slow leaving campus due to the construction on Highway 178; however the students were not late getting to class for the first day,” Lawson said. “The students and teachers continue to be amazed by the new school. There is much excitement in the air!”
Pickens Acting Police Chief Rodney Gregory said traffic problems were exacerbated at the new Pickens High School by a broken traffic light, but said he hoped the next dew days would easier.
Liberty Elementary School Principal Lowell Haynes noticed a big difference on opening day — a much smaller student body, thanks to the completion of Chastain Road Elementary School.
“The only noticeable difference from previous years is the number of students we are serving,” Haynes said. “This year we are serving a little over 500 students instead of our usual 900. We are excited about this new chapter in the life of Liberty Elementary and want to officially welcome Chastain Road Elementary School to the area.”
Thompson said the district would be adjusting bus routes, due to some bumps during the first week of school.