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New Rincon Elementary School opens with excitement, congestion

POSTED: August 4, 2018 1:29 p.m.
Mark Lastinger/staff/

Second-grade teacher Ashley Hiers (left) talks with student Mackenzie Hinely and Danette Whittaker during the July 31 open house at Rincon Elementary School.

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RINCON — The traffic snarl at Effingham County's new school developed as anticipated Thursday morning.

Fortunately, the congestion is showing signs of subsiding.
"Everything flowed much better (Friday) morning and I expect that trend to continue each day," Rincon Elementary School Principal Dr. Paige Dickey said.

At 7:40 a.m. Thursday, the first day of the 2018-19 school year, cars lined up for more than nine-tenths of a mile to enter the school on Fort Howard Road. They stretched from the school entrance all the way to Building Blocks Learning Center.

Thursday's traffic jam did nothing to lessen the excitement 945 students and their teachers feel for their fresh, airy facility that features lots of glass.

"The atmosphere is very positive," Dickey said. "(The school) has a lot of natural light, which is great. Everything is a very open concept."

Teachers who worked at the decades-old Rincon Elementary School on Fourth Street greatly appreciate their new surroundings. Some joked during Tuesday's open house that they were afraid to decorate their classrooms because they didn't want to blemish the walls.

The new school has several features that weren't included in the old school, now known as Crossroads Academy, an alternative school.

"We have a reading treehouse in our Media Center that is designed after Winnie the Pooh's house," Dickey said. "We have an amazing lunchroom for four lunch lines for when we need them. As for safety, we have a safety vestibule and an office set aside for law enforcement to use when they need a spot."
Acting Police Chief Jose Ramirez voiced appreciation for the office during a recent Rincon City Council meeting. He said his officers will use it and frequently eat lunch with students.

The new school wasn't quite ready for school to start.

"The playgrounds are really the only areas that still need to be completed," Dickey said. " As soon as the rain holds off for a few days, I am sure they will be getting the playground finished."

The street in front of the school will soon feature markings designated the area as a school zone. Appropriate signs and solar-powered flashing lights are also expected to be added soon.

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