Roane County students return to class Monday in new school

Roane County elementary school students return to class Monday in new school

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By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Education Reporter

HARRIMAN (WATE) - Teachers and parents got a first look at Roane County's newest school Tuesday. Dyllis Springs Elementary is the result of the largest single project funded by TVA's payout from the 2008 Kingston ash spill.

The school costs $12 million. It merges Dyllis Elementary and Oliver Springs Elementary. 6 News got a sneak peek of the facility ahead of student orientation.  

Teachers spent much of Tuesday unpacking boxes and putting the finishing touches on their classrooms. Kindergarten teacher Becker Efferson said, "We've been doing a lot of unpacking and putting things away and trying to find wonderful storage for everything."

Teachers and students from the former Dyllis and Oliver Springs Elementary Schools are coming together in the new state of the art building. It has larger classrooms, more natural light, and tons of energy efficient upgrades.

But, it's the little things that seem to matter most to teachers. "The storage is probably the biggest thing, the cabinets," explained Efferson. "It's just a brand spanking new room."

Principal Gwen Johnson pointed out some of her favorite parts of the Pre K through 4th grade  school, starting with the color coded hallways to keep students separated by grades. 

"Our blue and gold hallways each have bathrooms in every classroom, which is wonderful," said Johnson. "That was one of our big things that teachers asked for."

The school is more than 79,000 square feet with a large library-media center, well equipped computer lab, and lots of upgrades neither of the previous schools offered.

Walking into the large purple and gold gymnasium, Johnson said, "This is our playroom. It seats 1,016. It's really a gym, but we call it a playroom." A stage in the gym for performances is a luxury.

It's easy to see security is a priority at Dyllis Springs. The school has automatic locking doors and dozens of security cameras.

Literacy Leader, Lisa Duggins, said she's thrilled to start a new school year in the new environment.  Duggins was at the former Dyllis Elementary School. "I had a little office, probably a fifth the size of this room," she explained. "It's really nice to have the facilities to do the things you always wanted to do."

School officials have just a few things left on the to do list before Dyllis Springs Elementary welcomes its first crop of 400 students on Monday.

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