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A new beginning: Students, staff impressed with Old Fort Elementary
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A new beginning: Students, staff impressed with Old Fort Elementary

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The 2020-2021 school year has been one of change for students in McDowell County due to COVID-19. But for students at Old Fort Elementary, another big change has been walking into a brand new school.

During a tour by a McDowell News reporter last week, youngsters said some of their favorite parts of the school were the new gym, the library, the cafeteria and, surprisingly enough, the stairs. The students are not the only ones impressed. Staff members are pleased with their new accommodations.

“So much space  the community has been waiting a long time for this,” said Monica Elliott, a substitute teacher at Old Fort Elementary.

“The space is amazing, and the functionality of everything,” said third-grade teacher Amanda Spivey.

The new building not only embodies the start of something new for the students, but for the community of Old Fort as well.

"We are extremely proud of the new Old Fort Elementary School,” Superintendent Mark Garrett said as he led the tour. “It is a beautiful, highly functional building that will serve the community very well for many long years. I am excited for the students and staff to finally get to enjoy the facility after having to endure a construction zone for the last 20 months or so. They have been troopers and now have a jewel to show off to the world. I appreciate the patience of our students, staff, families and the surrounding neighborhood as the project progressed. The final product is well worth the investment."

The total cost of the project will come in right around $20 million when everything is completed. Of that total, $15 million is coming from the Needs Based Public School Capital Fund that was secured through a grant application. This grant provides $3 from the state for every $1 of local funds contributed.

Once pandemic restrictions ease, there will be a proper ribbon cutting and open-house event for the new school.

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