A dream of a number of people affiliated with the Surry County school system took a step closer to becoming a reality on Thursday.
A groundbreaking ceremony for a new elementary school on Rockford Road in Dobson was held at 12 p.m. The new school will help move about 450 students at Copeland and Dobson Elementary schools out of mobile units and into a building. If construction goes according to projections, the elementary school will be complete within 12 months.
“I dream of abandoning mobile units,” said Dr. Ashley Hinson, superintendent. “Moving to a permanent structure will be a great day for them. This is most definitely my dream and my passion.”
Moving students out of mobile units has been a discussion at board meetings for more than seven years. With the construction of this school and a new middle school in Pilot Mountain, only one of the existing 40 trailers will still be needed. It also has come before the Surry County Board of Commissioners on numerous occasions as the school system sought the funding to begin construction.
“Where we are today is in no small part due to the effort of the Board of County Commissioners,” said Hinson. “They figured out a way to make it happen.”
“It’s a good day for Surry County Schools, maybe even a great day,” said Commissioner Bill Hamlin. “One of our top priorities is the education of students in Surry County.”
Members of the county commissioners, the county school board and the school system’s administrative team were joined by about 13 students from Dobson and Copeland elementary schools as well as the principals from the schools and a few teachers. Deanna Edmonds, third grade teacher at Dobson Elementary, was able to serve on the visioning committee for the school during the development process.
“We’re here today for a day many of us have anxiously awaited,” she said. “I couldn’t be prouder to be part of as special a school project as this.”
Among the crowd gathered for the ceremony were a representative from the architectural firm, the construction company hired to complete the project and representatives from other organizations involved in the process. Ted Edwards, the owner of the parcel of land chosen by the school system as the ideal location for the new school, was also present to take part in the groundbreaking.
“This is part of his fiber and his family’s fiber,” said Tim Dockery, who helped find the land and come to terms with Edwards concerning the sale. “He’s been very gracious and unselfish to allow this facility to be constructed here.”
Students involved in the ceremony all have classes in mobile units this year. They all gathered around the presentation board showing the prototype for the new school before the ceremony began. Representatives from Copeland Elementary School included Heriberto Rodriguez, Monique Hernandez, Carson Wilkins, Whitney Huffman and Caleb Walker. Representatives from Dobson Elementary School included Jess Fowler, Sommer Chilton, Anna Poindexter, Megan Johnson, Marissa Fowler, Mallory Wilmoth and Star Burton.