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Pleasant Ridge makes its debut during ceremony

Pleasant Ridge Elementary makes its debut during grand opening ceremony

Clutching a pair of oversized scissors and surrounded by school leaders, a quintet of students cut the red ribbon on Sunday to signify the official opening of Pleasant Ridge Elementary School. 

Hundreds of people applauded as Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker proclaimed the new school open to the public.  The ribbon cutting was the final act for the school’s debut during the festive grand opening ceremony.

Gaston County Schools celebrated the grand opening of Pleasant Ridge Elementary on Sunday, August 20 The program featured dignitaries, speeches, a student drumming performance, and the presentation of the building.  Principal Glenn Cook welcomed guests and shared information about the new school. 

After the formal ceremony, guests toured the school and enjoyed refreshments.  As they arrived, they were greeted by a pep rally atmosphere featuring the Hunter Huss High School marching band drum line and cheerleaders.

Booker, who presided over the program, stated, “We are extremely proud of our new Pleasant Ridge Elementary School and believe it will be the crown jewel of the community.  Many people came together to make this contemporary campus a reality for west Gastonia, and it will be a place for many years to come where our children will learn, grow, and thrive.”

Booker added, “Anytime you open a brand new school, it is a momentous occasion.  The grand opening celebration gave our community a ‘sneak peek’ at the magnificent new school, and we were pleased to show it off.  We are confident that the school will be an additional source of great pride for the Pleasant Ridge community.”

About the new school
The new Pleasant Ridge Elementary School is an investment in west Gastonia that exceeds $20 million.  It is the result of the school bonds approved by voters in 2007 and a plan by the Gaston County Board of Education to consolidate three older, smaller elementary schools – Forest Heights, Pleasant Ridge, and Rhyne – into one larger, new school. 

The new school retains the Pleasant Ridge name since it sits adjacent to the old school.  The address is 1260 Floyd Lane.

The campus consumes a 14-acre tract, and the building spans approximately 122,000 square feet with two floors of classrooms, various instructional spaces, administrative offices, teacher workrooms, conference rooms, a cafeteria/gymnasium, and other areas.  It is designed to accommodate 800 students.

The color scheme provides an inviting and eye-catching look for the school’s interior.  A shade of azure blue is the primary accent color found throughout the building with hints of yellow, lime green, and orange.  Each of the four classroom hallways features one of the colors. 

Gaston County Schools celebrated the grand opening of Pleasant Ridge Elementary on Sunday, August 20 Atop the main staircase is the heart of the school – the library, a place that fosters an exciting multimedia experience for students.  Just steps from the book shelves are a computer lab, makerspace, television broadcasting room, and classrooms for art and music – areas that are in proximity to the library so creativity, exploration, and discovery can flourish.  

The spacious classrooms are designed to support collaborative teaching and learning.  The desks can be arranged in traditional style when necessary, but most times, they will be placed together like puzzle pieces so students can interact and share in small groups.  Flat panel screens, oversized whiteboards, instructional technology, and other features transform the classrooms and captivate the students’ attention through highly visual and interactive elements.

Outside, large glass windows along the front of the school complement the red brick edifice with the school name spelled out proudly in large nickel-plated letters.  There are 240 spaces for visitor, staff, and handicapped parking and drop-off and pick-up lanes in front of the school for car riders and on the rear side of the building for bus riders.  A courtyard between the building’s wings allows for outdoor learning activities, and the area where the old school remains will soon become a green space for a playground.

Incorporated into the new campus are an eight-classroom building and a gymnasium/multipurpose room that were a part of the old school.  These buildings are in excellent condition and preserving them will make room for an afterschool program and future growth.

Home for new Gifted and Talented Academy
Gaston County Schools’ new Gifted and Talented Academy is making its home at Pleasant Ridge Elementary, bringing some 200 children from across Gaston County to the campus.  With a whole-school approach in mind, all students at Pleasant Ridge will benefit from the magnet academy program through exciting academic and extracurricular activities designed to expand students’ intellect, encourage high academic achievement, and nurture personal development.