CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Monday to celebrate the completion of the new Ettrick Elementary School in Chesterfield County.

“This is a guaranteed ‘Wow!’” Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said. “Working together, we have accomplished something great for our children and community. Let’s never forget that our schools are community buildings.”

The construction of the school was approved in 2013 and had a budget of $33.76 million. An announcement from CCPS said the project was completed under budget and on time. This is the latest construction project to be completed as part of the 2013 bond referendum that focuses on renovating and replacing older facilities in the county.

Ettrick Elementary School opens to students on Aug. 23. (Photo: Chesterfield County Public Schools)

The new elementary school is located in the southern part of the county in the Matoca District.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” Ettrick Elementary School Principal Dr. Randi Smith said. “We’ve had a long, hard year. Teachers have worked hard, students have worked hard, and it’s going to be great to bring something new and exciting around every corner in this building to the students, the teachers and our community.”

The original building had been in service since the 1920s. The project for the new school broke ground in Oct. 2019. The elementary school is 95,990 square feet big and has a capacity for 750 students.

“I really think that the way we use this building is what’s going to be unique because we’ll be able to bring in more from our partnerships into the building and really use this as a community facility, and not just as a regular old school,” Smith said. “Every classroom has the interactive smart board, so we’ll definitely have more technology. Our gym is super-sized, so we have more basketball courts than everybody else, so we’ll be able to have some community tournaments out at this end of the county.”

The gymnasium at the new Ettrick Elementary School features several basketball hoops, which Smith said she hopes could be used for community tournaments. (Photo: Olivia Jaquith)

Smith said that at the end of each “learning wing” there is a larger space to allow for small-group and community activities, such as Ettrick Elementary School’s partnership with Virginia State University (VSU) and its students.

“We have partnerships with Virginia State, where many of their students come over and work with our students,” she said. “This will allow them an actual place to sit down and partner with our students.”

Smith said that nearly 500 students will set foot in the building when it opens for the first day of school on Aug. 23.

“This teaching staff has worked so hard that they were recognized as a National Title I Distinguished School, and through all of that, they’ve worked in an old building with sub-standard conditions, so to speak,” Smith said. “Now, through all that hard work, it’s paid off, and they get to start a fresh, new year with top-of-the-line instructional materials and instructional space.”

Smith said that teachers are set to begin moving in and unpacking on Monday, Aug. 2.