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New school ways
Systems latest school holds open house Sunday
0202 ECMS Ceremony 1
ECMS student Kate Lanier sings for the opening ceremony. - photo by Photo by Calli Arnold

Who needs bells and whistles when you’ve got Promethean boards, acoustic guitars and a shiny new gym/auditorium?

At the grand opening and dedication ceremony of the new Effingham County Middle School building Sunday afternoon, members of the community were invited to explore the squeaky new classrooms and amenities the facility has to offer.

“I think our students will take a sense of pride in what they are doing. I think that will extend further than just the building. I think it will extend into their work in the classroom and the teacher’s teaching,” said ECMS Principal Rob Porterfield.

A stone’s throw from ECHS, the new ECMS has been operational since the beginning of the 2009-10 school year. The only pieces left to install are the athletic fields and the school sign.

At the ceremony, principals, assistant principals, board members, state lawmakers, teachers and students were recognized and many voiced their enthusiasm for the school and its completion.

Each classroom is equipped technologically with a Promethean board, which allows students and teachers to interact with a computer screen the way they would with a chalkboard or an overhead projector.

Teachers, students and board members expressed excitement about the new school and an intention to utilize it as much as possible.

In Michael Newell’s remedial reading class, students can curl up in the comfy corner of her classroom on the bench with a blanket and pillow to do their schoolwork.

The new ECMS was built by Pope Construction for a bid of $15.39 million. The original targeted completion date was January 2010. The original ECMS was built in 1956. Enrollment today is approximately 687.

School board Chairman Lamar Allen said that most of the old middle school will used for other education needs, such as pre-kindergarten.

“As a board member and an individual in this side of the county, it is great to finally get the last new school here,” he said. “Now we have all new schools with the Effingham County edition here. It is great.”