Students, parents get first look at new Tega Cay Elementary

It’s big, it’s fancy and it’s nearly ready for more than 700 students to fill its classrooms. The new Tega Cay Elementary School was opened to students and parents for the first time Tuesday, and they were impressed by what they saw.

“Cool” was the word sisters Enna and Ella Patel used to describe the large building on Gold Hill Road. Enna will be in second grade and Ella will be in fifth grade.

It has two floors, a large combination cafeteria/gymnasium/auditorium, two art and music classrooms, lots of storage and the latest technology – not to mention all-new computers and furniture.

“I love it. I can’t wait to see it all put together,” said Heather Hoffmeister, whose sons David and Benjamin will be in kindergarten and fifth grade, respectively.

Hoffmeister’s grandparents lived in Tega Cay for years. While they’re no longer living, they would be impressed by the new school and all the development around it, Hoffmeister said.

David and Benjamin Hoffmeister wandered through “show classrooms” that were set up as examples of what their rooms might look like in a few weeks when school starts.

“It’s so exciting to be a part of something so big,” said kindergarten assistant Amy Merson. Seeing how excited the kids were at Tuesday’s open house, which was intended to be for the younger grades, made her even more excited for the new school year.

Joy Patterson, a fifth-grade teacher whose classroom is nearly ready for the first day of school, showed off some of the features of the new school. She was excited about their new Smart TVs, which are attached to the walls on hydraulics so they can be raised or lowered and unlike Smart Boards, which are found in many other schools, can have multiple sets of hands on them at one time so several students can be working on the board at the same time.

Patterson also liked the triangular desks that make it easier to put the desks together into tables and stools which wobble slightly on the bottom so that students who have a hard time sitting still can get a little bit of their excess energy out of their system.

“We are 98 percent complete,” said Tega Cay principal Chris Gardner. “We’re just excited to give the community a sneak peek.”

The school will host a second open house next week, when community members are invited.

Tega Cay Elementary is one of three elementary schools under construction in the Fort Mill school district. Doby’s Bridge Elementary School also will open in August. Riverview Elementary School will open in January 2015 to replace the existing Riverview School. The floor plans of all three buildings are very similar.

School starts in Fort Mill on Aug. 18.