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Riverview breaks ground on structure
Shade Structure pic01
The Riverview Elementary PTO, along with representatives of Kasteel Construction and the Dawson County Board of Education, broke ground on the future shade structure during the May 16 rally. The structure is planned to be completed for the first day of school in August. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Since its opening in 2010, students at Riverview Elementary have noticed one particular problem with their otherwise great school. Shade.

The fact that it sits on top of a large rock is both a blessing and a curse, according to school officials.

"There's been a problem for four years on our playground. It's beautiful up here, we have great scenery, but sometimes it gets hot," said Principal Julia Mashburn. "We kept looking for ways that we could improve our playground. We tried trees at first, but trees don't really grow up here."

Mashburn said that the school has been working to find a solution from day one.

"[The PTO] started working almost immediately when we opened four years ago, looking at ways that we can do this," she said. "We were able to work with the school board and local ELOST funding for this project."

The Dawson County Board of Education approved using $18,944 of ELOST funds to build a 30-foot by 20- foot open-air shade structure. The bid was awarded to Kasteel Construction, of Dawsonville.

The lack of shade is an issue that Riverview Elementary PTO President Brenda Horton said has been discussed at great lengths.

"The elements are very rough up here. Because the school is built on top of such a large rock, it's very sound, structurally, but nothing can grow up here," she said. "We barely got the grass to take root. Any tree we try to plant withers up because it can't get any root system growth."

The structure is scheduled to be completed by the time students return for classes in August.

"When [students] return this fall, our playground is going to look very different," Mashburn said. "This couldn't have happened without the help and the perseverance of our PTO and the support of our community and board."