The new Ethel Kight Elementary School in LaGrange, Georgia, opened for the first day of school August 10, 2015. In order to get the children from the outdated Ethel Kight Elementary School into their new school in time for the 2015-16 school year, 2WR+Partners (Architect) and Freeman and Associates (General Contractor) worked to fast-track the design and construction inside one year, while the children temporarily attended classes in the old Westside Middle School near the campus of LaGrange College.
Features of the new school include:
- Substantial daylight and views to the outside in each classroom
Advantage: Increases health and academic performance
- Energy Efficiency with VRF Heating & Air system, LED Lighting, as well as sunshading and careful building orientation designed to limit solar heat gain
Advantage: Excellent indoor air quality and energy cost savings
- Improved traffic patterns and closed thru-roads in order to improve dedicated access for school buses and cars, and included a long canopy shielding students from the weather during pick-up and drop-off
Advantage: Improves road safety for children, parents, and faculty & staff
- New purpose-built computer labs, media center, art, and music rooms, as well as technology-equipped classrooms and teacher support spaces
Advantage: Supports the goal of the school system to provide the best opportunity for students to learn 21st Century skills while providing educators with exceptional tools and flexibility
- Larger and more secured playground
Advantage: Increases opportunities for safe play and exercise
- Engaging interior color palette and patterns contributing to the bright, pleasant atmosphere for students, faculty, and staff
Advantage: Increases student attendance and faculty/staff retention
At the dedication ceremony on August 30, Lee Martin, project architect and partner at 2WR, joined in with school board members, alumni, faculty, and staff to ring bells in honor of Ms. Ethel W. Kight, a beloved educator and champion for black students' education in Troup County. A monument was also erected on site to ensure her contributions continue to be made known to future generations.
The mission of the Troup County School System is " to educate all students in a challenging and safe learning environment, so they will become productive citizens in a diverse and changing world." At the dedication, the school choir sang "We are the people of the 21st Century - We have the chance to do it right..." Indeed, the advantages of the new facility help to ensure the fulfillment of the mission of the school system now and well into the future.
Troup County School System Board Member Sheila Rowe concludes:
"The new Ethel Kight Elementary School is a wonderful asset for the community. The modern facility will foster a strong sense of pride among faculty and staff while providing an engaging learning environment for our students. Each of the stakeholders will cherish the opportunity they have to add to the dynamic legacy of Ethel Kight Elementary School."