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New Lee County Elementary set to welcome students

Lee County Elementary School

Lee County Elementary School

LEESBURG, Ga. -- With just a week before Lee County schools open, Lee County Elementary School Principal Donna Ford was giving a walk through of the system's new $14 million facility on Lovers Lane Road.

The diminutive Ford, who has been with the Lee County system for 28 years and a principal for 15, was bursting at the seams as she showed off the county's newest school.

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Lee County Elementary School Principal Donna Ford

"I still can't believe we are standing here," Ford said. "It's just so beautiful. I rode past this place for years on the way to work and then it was all soybeans and peanuts ... and now, voila! there's a brand new school here."

The school is built as a spoke and all grades (third through fifth) are located on their own wings. There is a central location in the school's cafeteria marked by a silver circle in the center of an eight-pointed star where someone can stand and see down to the end of each grade wing and into the school's media center and office.

Another unique feature of the facility is that the school's faculty played a large part in its design and amenities.

"We had substantial input into the design of the school," Ford said. "Every decision that was made was made by the faculty, and we are very pleased with the outcome."

The faculty moved walls, did away with the building's proposed cupola and lowered some ceilings which cut costs and allowed architects to add 15 feet to the school's enormous gymnasium. This will allow the gym to later be marked off to accommodate the school's championship archery team.

Another feature of which Ford is proud is that each of the buildings 30 classrooms will be equipped with state-of-the art Smart Board. These boards will allow teachers to use tablets to draw or write on the boards, which are also interactive to touch.

Fourth grade teacher Yolanda Pilkington was busy moving gear into her classroom last Thursday, but paused for a moment to share her thoughts on the new facility.

"I love it, it's all so clean. It's like opening a present at Christmas time," Pilkington said. "The new technology is wonderful, there is so much of everything. And did I already say everything is so clean?"

The school has an open house scheduled for Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., when parents can tour the new building and visit their children's teachers.