SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) — Tuesday was the first day of school in a new building for some Savannah-Chatham County Public School students.
New Hampstead K-8 was built with the goal of alleviating overcrowding at other schools, namely Godley Station K-8. Crews broke ground on the new school in the fall of 2019 with the intention of opening for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
School leaders say weather and pandemic-related issues, including supply chain disruptions, interfered with construction.
“COVID did have some effect on the construction workers,” said Troy Brown, the district’s senior officer of K-8 leadership. “Some of them were out sick or either being isolated or quarantined because of that so that delayed some of the process, we didn’t have enough workers to do the construction.”
The new school is home to 93 classrooms, all equipped with interactive whiteboards and audio enhancement systems. The nearly 150,000 square foot building carries a $42.5 million price tag. It was funded by ESPLOST, a penny sales tax that supports Savannah-Chatham Public Schools.
New Hampstead K-8 sits behind New Hamstead High, connected by a walking path with the goal of creating a campus-like feel.
“Having us so close together helps the children then see, be able to do in middle school things with the high school, have that long vision in their mind, start connecting the college and career and bringing us all together,” said principal Tara Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald said the students were excited to be in the new building and families are adjusting well.
“Technically for us, this is like our first day of school,” she said. “It was incredible to see how smoothly the day, the morning went. It was as if we had always been here.”
As of Tuesday, 800 students are enrolled at New Hampstead K-8. But the school is in West Chatham County, one of the fastest-growing areas. With that in mind, leaders said the school was built to accommodate 1,500 students as more people move to the area.