Riverview Elementary School has some big changes in store for the holiday break as staff and students prepare to move from Harris Road to a new campus on Spratt Street.
“This is Mrs. Chinchilla making the final announcements from this Riverview,” said Principal Annette Chinchilla over the loudspeaker at the end of the school day Wednesday. “We thank this building for its wonderful years of service and hope you have a great break,” she told students.
The “original Riverview,” Chinchilla said, was a country school for first- through sixth-graders in what is now Baxter Village. It closed in 1974 when Fort Mill Primary School – the building that has housed Riverview Elementary from 2000 until Wednesday – was built, she said.
In the final guidance classes of the year, students talked about the move, exploring what would be different and what would be the same, said guidance counselor Heather Ernst.
“I was expecting it to be more stressful, for them to have more questions – but they seem very OK with it,” Ernst said. “This is what we’re going to do, and they’re really excited about all the new things that are going to come at the new school.”
Ernst had students write down their favorite memories of the old school and the things they were looking forward to at the new building for a school book which will be on display in the new office.
“They all liked Boosterthon, they all liked their teachers, they all like to make new friends,” Ernst said. “They are really excited about the new playgrounds. They’re super excited because there’s no wood chips on the playground. They’re excited about all the things in the gym, so fun things like that.
“They’re all excited about desks! That’s what all the older students are saying. Having inner desk space – they’re all excited about that.”
Faculty and staff worked to prepare students for the changes without losing instruction time.
That meant while support staff and related arts teachers began packing, it was business as usual in the classrooms until 2:30 pm Wednesday.
Riverview teachers will have work on Thursday and Friday, and the new facility will be open to them over the weekend so they can set up their new classrooms. PTO volunteers are also scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
Parents and students are invited to visit the new building at 4 p.m. (for grades K-2) or 5:30 p.m. (for grades 3-5) on Jan. 5, which is also a teacher work day. Classes will resume Jan. 6.
“It takes a village. It’s a big deal and a big change,” said Riverview art teacher Kelly Davis. “We’ll make new memories in the new building.”