The melody of Kool & the Gang’s “Celebrate” could be heard in the Pleasantdale Elementary area of Doraville on the morning of Thursday, October 25. A keen listener, however, would have noticed the lyrics had been changed to mark a momentous occasion.
“Breaking ground! It’s time, come on! There is a new school building up right here—a celebration to last throughout the year. So bring our teachers, and lots of friends too. We’re going to celebrate with you!”
DeKalb County School District (DCSD) broke ground on the new Pleasantdale Elementary School by welcoming teachers, students, staff and community partners to an official celebratory ceremony. The event featured words from district officials as well as a student performance from the Pleasantdale Singing Club.
“Today we celebrate the initiation of a new teacher-ready elementary school that will be engineered for student success from the ground up,” said Superintendent/CEO Dr. R. Stephen Green at the event. “The building will feature several things: advanced technology for the 21st century and beyond; collaborative spaces for students to work together; and flexible furnishings to guarantee student success. We are really proud this school will be a great haven and learning space as they emerge as student leaders.”
According to Green, the new Pleasantdale Elementary was made possible by DCSD collaborating with DeKalb County government, Evergreen Construction, CGLS Architects, the Pleasantdale Advisory Committee, the E-SPLOST Advisory Committee, and Concorde Soccer.
“This does not happen in isolation. This is a cross-collaborative effort,” Green said. “The ground broken here today will not only serve the students of DeKalb County School District, but the citizens of DeKalb County as well, for decades. The site we are gathered at today will provide a center for learning and a center for community gathering.”
Pleasantdale Elementary’s reconstruction is the product of the DeKalb County education-specific special local option sales tax (E-SPLOST), which was renewed in May 2016 following overwhelming approval from voters. The school was originally built in 1968, with the last major renovation taking place in 1998.
“We’re excited for the new building and the opportunities that the new building will provide as we grow as learners,” said Dr. Jocelyn Harrington, principal at Pleasantdale. “Parents, neighbors, teachers and the construction advisory committee members have worked diligently in providing input on the new building. Today is an important day for our entire school community.”
Board of Education member Jim McMahan was present on October 25 to share his thoughts on the incoming building.
“I’m proud to be a part of the future development of Pleasantdale,” McMahan said. “There are great things to come. This type of growth would not have happened without support from our county leaders. As we grow and develop as a county, we have to keep it One DeKalb. We’re all in it together.”
Fifth-grade student Hermione Lizama Sala joined Dr. Green, McMahan and Dr. Harrington in providing inspirational words at the ceremony.
“I ask myself, ‘How do I say goodbye to the old and embrace something new when change is hard and the old is all we know?’” Sala said. “I know. I will hold onto the memories of a place that watched me grow, for in the new, I will be ready to go. To our parents, teachers, and yes, the old building, I thank you for all the opportunities you gave me. I will carry you forever in my memories, my heart, and my actions. Because of the old gave me foundation and the strength to care, the new will give me my creativity, adventure, and courage to explore. I am going to goodbye with my heart and my hands, and receive the new with my arms wide open.”