Angela Cooper and her children walked the halls of Riverview Elementary School on Sunday afternoon.
She smiled, admiring the large classrooms, high ceilings and glossy coats of paint. Daughters Hannah and Michaella Cooper trailed behind, their shoes squeaking on the freshly-waxed floors.
It was their first visit to the new facility, the district’s fourth elementary school.
Parents like Cooper toured the campus Sunday after taking part in a formal dedication ceremony for the school, which is on Dawson Forest Road West.
“This place looks ... great,” Cooper said. “Very awesome-looking.”
Cooper’s daughter, Hannah, will attend the school beginning Monday. Both her daughters are former Black’s Mill Elementary students.
Former Black’s Mill Principal Julia Mashburn, who was tapped to lead the new school, spoke at the dedication ceremony Sunday afternoon in Riverview’s gym.
“I speak for our entire faculty and staff when I say how excited we are today to be establishing the fourth pillar in an outstanding education for elementary students in Dawson County,” Mashburn said.
Retired Dawson County educator Herbert Robinson echoed the remarks in his address to the parents and grandparents of Riverview students.
“This school, like all schools in Dawson County, will be wonderful,” Robinson said.
“These children are attending school in a system that is A number 1. It stands as one of the best school systems in the state of Georgia,” Robinson said.
Superintendent Keith Porter said administrators owed the system’s successes to the community.
“It is due to your generosity and concern that we can build facilities like this,” Porter said. “We are so appreciative.”
Funded by the voter-approved 1-cent sales tax for education, the 80,000 square-foot Riverview cost about $9.8 million.
Following an April 12 vote by the Dawson County Board of Education, school district zones were redrawn to include Riverview.
The new attendance zones relieve overcrowding at Robinson Elementary, the district’s most populous school.
With the opening of Riverview, Robinson’s enrollment will drop from 700 students to 535.
Riverview will have about 325 students when classes begin Monday
Porter said seeing students on the first day will make it all worthwhile.
“We’ve been admiring this beautiful building for some time now,” Porter said. “We’ve been missing one important thing, though, our students. We can’t wait to see this building come alive.”