Three of Horry County’s new energy-positive schools opened up for the first day of school on Wednesday, and kids got to see their new classrooms for the first time.
“I like the classrooms; I think they’re really cool,” said seventh-grader Gabriel Garcia, who’s attending Ten Oaks Middle School. “I like how it looks and everything. I thought the glass was going to be kind of distracting at first, but it actually isn’t.”
Sixth-grade teacher Mary Lynn Ashby was upstairs at Ten Oaks, starting her first day of her 30th year teaching. Ten Oaks is the second school she’s helped open.
This is phenomenal. I am so excited and so secure and feel so safe with the glass.
Teacher Mary Lynn Ashby
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She said parents had voiced concerns about the open glass separating the classrooms from the hallways and collaborative learning areas.
“This is phenomenal,” said the former Ocean Bay Middle School teacher.“ I am so excited and so secure and feel so safe with the glass. You would think the opposite but I can see everything and everybody can see us. It’s completely transparent, everybody is on task and it’s just really exciting that it’s open.”
Principal Ben Prince said he’s happy with the glass walls and collaborative spaces.
“We’ve talked about all the collaborative opportunities and the learning experiences and the enrichment that it brings,” Prince said. “We’ve talked about how to be prepared in the event of a crises situation, so we’ve covered the gamut as far as what may happen in the course of a school day.
I thought the glass was going to be kind of distracting at first, but it actually isn’t.
Seventh-grader Gabriel Garcia
“It brings a lot of opportunities for what we do; the business of education that we’re in,” he said. “And we’re able to strengthen that within this model.”
Ten Oaks Middle School holds 1,200 students and will help alleviate pressure on Ocean Bay Middle. That school has a capacity of 900, but was projected to serve 1,350 students had Ten Oaks not been constructed.
Ten Oaks is expecting about 875 students this year, said Prince.
Two other new energy-positive schools also opened on Wednesday: the replacement Socastee Elementary School, which holds 916 students and the new St. James Intermediate School which holds 1,200.
The Horry County school district served a bit of 43,000 students last year and expects to add 750 students this year.