STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Students and parents marched into a new Julia P. Bryant Elementary to start the new year. The new building and design made a big impression with parents.
"I think its amazing. This place has incredible educational decor. The footprints on the floor are wonderful," explained Angie Gerguis, after she'd dropped off her triplet sons.
Each hallway has a science-based theme that offers information even during a walk to lunch or recess. In the "jungle" hall, footprints show the outline and gait of different animals. Students can research their identity and other information from display boards in the hall.
"It keeps the kids engaged. Keeps them interested in what they're looking at and can ask questions," Gerguis added.
Each teacher has laptop-controlled smart boards in their class. Principal Shawn Harralson said the previous, 1950's building couldn't handle the wiring necessary for them. Right next door, students from Mattie Lively Elementary moved across town into the old "Julia P." while their school is demolished and replaced over the next year.
"You've got two schools on the same block," Harralson stated. "You're talking about 1,200 students if not 1,300 students. You double that this morning with parents driving in, it creates a massive traffic jam."
Police officers and electronic signs tried to direct parents down the proper streets and entrances for the respective schools. The principal said it will get to normal when the new of the new school year wears off and parents send kids by bus or drop them off instead of walking them to class.
"Parents are just gonna have to get used to the drop off routes and where they need to go. Everybody wants to park at the front door. That's just not possible. For a first day, I thought it was a blessing," Harralson added.
He hopes things go this smoothly all year long.
Across town, construction continues on a new Sallie Zetterower Elementary on the edge of Statesboro. In January, students, teachers and staff will move their from another 1950's buiding.
In nearby Portal, middle and high school students moved into a new building that replaces their collection of 1940's and 50's buildings on their campus.