The school converted the elementary gym into five new classrooms, including an art studio, a prekindergarten classroom and three other typical classrooms. The middle school gym was converted into two new science labs and a full-size band room. There is a new gymnasium with a stage for musical and drama productions, as well as four new classrooms. A new entrance and administrative area was created with a grand lobby and teacher work area. Lastly, the school received a new playground with a walking track.
“What a day,” said Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright. “This has been a monumental task and really sort of the crown at the end. We have been through a building program the likes of which I don’t know that anyone’s experienced in a long time.”
The school board made renovations at Carroll-Oakland School, Tuckers Crossroads School, Gladeville Elementary School and Watertown Elementary School. The Southside Elementary School renovations were the last to be completed.
“This is sort of the culminating event here at Southside,” said Wright. “No one could even begin to imagine the magnitude other than the people who have been living it.”
Board of Education chairman Larry Tomlinson thanked Wilson County citizens for their help in improving the schools.
“This is an over $70 million investment that our county – that you all – have made into our school system,” said Tomlinson. “You may see [board members’] names on the plaque when you come in the gym, but you all – the teachers, the staff the parents – are what makes this school system what it is.”
Members of the school’s Beta Club provided tours to everyone present of the new hallways and classrooms after brief closing remarks from Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto.
“To have a progressive school system, you have to have leaders who are willing to make a difference and take a stand,” said Hutto. “This group of board of education members, along with faculty, has done just that – not just here at Southside, but all across the county.”