By Matt de Simone
The new Colonial Elementary School at 142 Murray Drive, Troutville, opened its doors to the public last Wednesday. The school held a ceremony in front of the main entrance as members of the community were invited to see this state-of-the-art elementary school’s interior.
Colonial Elementary students introduced Botetourt’s governing community members and the school’s staff members, who welcomed the visitors to the event.
Principal Tammy Riggs led the opening remarks about the new school. She told the story of when former Botetourt County Public Schools Superintendent John Busher informed Riggs they were planning on breaking ground on a new school a few years ago. The former building was over 80 years old and needed numerous repairs.
“He came into my office and closed the door,” Riggs explained. “Now, anybody who knows, when your boss comes in, sits you down, and closes the door, you get a little nervous. And then he said, ‘I’m going to throw you a curveball.’ He told me we were finally getting our new school.
“I was in disbelief, I was shocked, and I was excited,” Riggs continued. “I was told that before and then the bottom fell out of the economy, and it didn’t happen. So, I had pretty much given up the thought, along with my team. But then we had the groundbreaking right down at the tree as you enter. They saved that tree on purpose because our students broke ground right there. I knew I could finally believe it was going to happen. The designing and the planning began, and here we are.”
Busher was on hand at the ceremony and shared a few words about the planning and about “The Botetourt Way.” Members of the Board of Supervisors and School Board representatives also shared their new school thoughts. Project Manager for Spectrum Design Granville Grant was also in attendance and spoke briefly to the audience.
“So many people working so diligently have made this new Colonial Elementary School a reality for us today,” Grant stated.
Jamie West, a teacher at Colonial Elementary, shared some thoughts on the new facility.
“We needed this new school,” West said. “Through the rollercoaster of economic downturns and booming economies, the time had come, and we received the go-ahead to build this new school. And now, a few years later, we are here.”
West also spoke about how the staff’s patience and the look of the school give a feeling of love throughout the building for its students, staff, and visitors.
Following the dedication, members of the community in attendance received a tour of the new facility.