2 schools enjoy successful debuts

Union County's two new elementary schools, Stallings and Sun Valley, got off to smooth starts, officials said last week.

But not without the drama of a last-minute rush at Stallings.

Construction kept teachers out of the building until four days before the Aug. 25 start of school. Many worked through the weekend preparing classrooms with the help of volunteers. Open house for parents was pushed back to Aug. 24, a Sunday.

But the first-week, with staggered schedules for students, was successful, officials say. By last week, everyone was settling into normal routines.

“All the kids are in and it's been a good week,” said Stallings Principal Bill Breckenridge.

“Stallings Elementary had lots of help from staff and parents, but it did open on time,” schools spokesperson Luan Ingram said.

Sun Valley didn't face nearly the last-minute rush. The building had been ready since July.

Ingram said tallies from the first week showed 609 students at Sun Valley and 621 at Stallings. That's close to projections: school officials had estimated Sun Valley would have 628 and Stallings 635.

There are still bugs to work out, Breckenridge says. “We've got new bus routes, new traffic patterns. It's going to take patience on everybody's part … ,” he said. “If people will bear with us, we'll get the glitches worked out.”

And, of course, there's humor to be found. Breckenridge points out a 20-foot-tall telephone pole standing outdoors at the school's entrance. It had been placed there during construction and isn't yet removed. “You just have to make light of some things,” he says.