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A grand new school

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Taylor County Primary Center celebrates with grand opening

By Zac Oakes

Thursday evening was a time to celebrate for the Taylor County School District, as school officials, teachers, parents, students and community members celebrated the grand opening of the Taylor County Primary Center.

Although classes have been operating inside the new school since early January, the event was an opportunity for many of those involved to come together and celebrate the opening of the school.

Student performances kicked off Thursday evening’s ceremony, held in front of the school. That was followed by comments from TCPC Principal Melissa Long, Taylor County School District board members, and Superintendent Roger Cook.

In his address, Cook said that although there is still some work to be done around the school, particularly the implementation of a playground, he is very proud and excited about the school.

Cook also noted that it has been a long process in building the school, but commended the board members for sticking with it and “doing what is right for the students.”

“We started trying to raise money for this with a nickel tax eight years ago,” he said. “And our board stayed strong because we knew the end result would be this. It was hard to see eight years ago when looking at a blueprint, but I think now that pretty much everyone is pleased with the outcome.”

Cook also commended the work of all those involved who helped move from the old school to the new one, noting it was a quick turnaround and he appreciated all those individuals – some who were not even school employees – for helping make for a speedy transition.

After the ceremony, Cook said he and the board members are “ecstatic” about the school and seeing their dream come to reality.

“It’s just a great day for our kids in Taylor County,” he said. “Not for me, not for anyone else, but the kids. That’s who we do this for. We love our kids here and we want to give them the best environment for education possible. That’s what this is all about.”

Long said that so far, everything in the school is operating well.

“It has really been flawless,” she said. “It almost seems like we are on some vacation and we are going to have to wake up and go back to reality, but things are running smoothly. The students are happy, faculty members are happy, and parents seem to be happy. Everything is going really well.”

Long said a recent Title I survey sent out to parents showed 99 percent of respondents reported that their child felt comfortable at school and they felt comfortable with their children going to TCPC.

“I was really proud of that,” Long said.

Long said the biggest change she has noticed since moving to the new building is the amount of pride students take in their school.

“They are so taken aback from the facilities and their sense of pride is really showing,” she said.

Long said she is also thankful for all those who helped make the transition from the old building to the new one, noting that teachers were there nearly all of Christmas break, along with spouses, friends, as well as receiving help from inmates at the Taylor County Detention Center.

“Everybody pulled together and put in those long hours, and we were able to accomplish it,” she said.

Long said she is excited for the future at TCPC and the role she will play in it.

“I feel blessed to be here each day,” she said. “I cannot believe this is my job because I just love it so much.”

Board members Tony Davis, David Hall, Bob Clark and Jason Cox remarked that they believe this is one of the best investments they can make in the school system by investing in a facility that would create a strong learning environment for Taylor County students.

Board member Deanna Hunt was not able to attend the ceremony due to an illness.

A grand opening for Taylor County High School will be held Tuesday, March 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. There will be a presentation in the gymnasium beginning at 6 p.m.

The community is invited to attend.