River Ridge Academy’s ribbon-cutting celebrates referendum success

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BLUFFTON, SC (WSAV) – It’s the first big project paid for by the Beaufort County Schools bond referendum.

The ribbon cutting at River Ridge Academy was a celebration of students, and fiscal responsibility.

A new beginning. that’s why school leaders called the 3 building, 16 classrooms, $9.9 million expansion.

It means all students at the K-8 school which has been overcrowded almost since it opened five years ago, will all finally be under one roof.

“It’s the addition that meets the need we are seeing here right now,” said Dr. Frank Rodriguez, Beaufort County School Superintendent.

Beaufort County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Rodriguez is thrilled not just with the way the three new wings will look, but with the cooperation of voters who approved the latest referendum with a 70% vote, and with a citizens oversight committee to watch the spending.

This expansion is just the start of big changes for the district.

“The school district is doing what it said it would do,” said Rodriguez. “Promises made and promises kept. And that’s a really important thing for the community to know. And that trust piece is essential.”

Essential also, the big new classrooms for teachers who have been spending their days in portables.

“Honestly it just allows us more space to teach more students and touch all those extra lives,” said Kayla Elliott, River Ridge Teacher.

While those “extra” students won’t be in the building until October 5, the rooms are decorated with everything they need to build young minds and welcome them back to class.

River Ridge’s Principal says having everyone under one roof means better education and better school experience for parents, teachers, and especially students.

“With the community supporting the referendum, and us now being able to build enough classrooms to house all our students,” said Brian Ryman, River Ridge Principal. “It is going to make out processes and procedures that much better and will give students a sense of unity to have them all under one roof.”

This is just the beginning of the referendum projects here in Beaufort County. May River High School’s expansion is almost complete. Then it is on to a new Robert Smalls Academy and works at Battery Creek High School next. Each project overseen by that citizens’ committee who will watch every dollar is accounted for.

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