FLORENCE SC (WMBF) – Royall Elementary School students spent the first day back to school in a brand new building.
The original building in the Florence One School District opened up in 1949 and was built for 435 students.
The process to build the new school started two years ago with developing and tweaking the plans. Julie Smith is going on her 32nd year as the principal at Royall. She says the start of school in this new facility is "a dream come true."
The school's motto is, "A proud past and a bright future." Smith says it was a strain to try and get kids to come together in the old cramped environment to learn, work, grow, and solve problems. The new building is equipped with brand new technology. Each classroom has an apple TV as a smart board. There is also a technology room that has AppleTVs as tables that kids can interact with.
Every classroom is designed with different stations, and there are designated areas for groups of students to collaborate, talk out loud, play, and brainstorm.
"That's the future of the world," says Smith. "It's not going to be sitting in rows. It's not going to be answering questions at the end of the chapter. It's going to be about how do we make everyone's efforts recognized and everyone's talents celebrated."
Royall Elementary has been awarded numerous awards over the years. The most recent honor was to be named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Royal was one of 330 schools out of 100,000 schools across the nation to be recognized with this award. Smith says it was a recognition for long-standing academic achievement with a diverse population.
"It's the most prestigious award that any elementary school, any school can earn," says Smith. "So we did that in a 66-year-old building, which proves it's not about the building. It's about the people in the building."
Smith warns that if they were able to achieve all that in an old, cramped building, just think what the future holds for Royall students in the new building.