INDIAN LAND -- Monday's opening of the new Indian Land High School is a symbolic ushering in of a new era for the community -- one of growth and change.
The new 145,000-square-foot high school at 8063 River Road has room for 800 students and will accommodate 1,200 when all phases are done. The $24 million school features a 1,300-seat gymnasium. The former high school now is undergoing a $5.2 million renovation for the middle school, which is expected to be complete in January.
Cassie Stump graduated from high school in 1976 with only 43 people in her graduating class. Indian Land High School was located on the eastern side of U.S. 521 then, near where the recreation center now stands.
A lot of changes are going on here, she said, especially in the schools.
"If you've lived in Indian Land forever, all you hear is how it's going to grow," Stump said. "Now it's like 'Wow!' No one is prepared for how drastic the changes are."
In 1927, Legacy Park resident Matt McGinn's great-grandfather, W.C. McGinn, was one of the first Indian Land Area School District trustees. Eighty years later, Matt McGinn said he thinks his ancestor would be proud of how the school district has evolved.
"I think overall, he would probably like where Indian Land is," McGinn said. "The new school is going to free up some space and will give the other schools a little bit of breathing room."
Bennett Gunter began working in the Indian Land schools in 1954. In his 30-year employment with the school system, he served as a coach, teacher and principal, and was the superintendent for Indian Land's schools.
There have been a lot of changes since his first year teaching in Indian Land, Gunter said, and he worries that the schools aren't prepared for the growth in upper Lancaster County, known as the panhandle.
"I think (the new high school) is great," Gunter said. "But it seems to me we've dragged our feet getting ready."
Nate Paulson, who will be a member of the first graduating class of the new high school, is looking forward to checking it out on the first day.
"The school will have new facilities and new equipment," said Paulson. "It's just going to be generally better than the old one."
• What: Dedication of Indian Land High School followed by reception
• When: 3 p.m. Sunday
• Where: Indian Land High School, 8063 River Road
Who: Schools Superintendent Gene Moore, board of trustees Chairman Charlene McGriff and former Superintendent Pat Burns.
• For more: Take a video tour of Indian Land High School at