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Excitement and pride radiated the hallways of Dadeville Elementary School on Friday morning as faculty, administration and staff showed off the renovated facility with a ribbon cutting.

The modernized building has new ceilings, new bathrooms, a fresh coat of paint throughout, a state-of-the-art media center replacing the library and a high-end revamped cafeteria.

“This is a wonderful day for this school and community and I am thankful we could make it happen,” Tallapoosa County Schools superintendent Joe Windle said.

Community members turned out to tour the school and admire the work done. This project completion marks progress in Tallapoosa County Schools closing its facilities gap across the system.

“Thankful and excited are the two words that come to mind,” DES principal Rance Kirby said. “I feel like having a facility like this sets the stage for us to be great. It makes the kids want to learn more and the teachers want to teach more. It’s a building block for our future.”

Staff began unpacking boxes and settling into the building this week, and teachers have been decorating their classrooms and preparing for COVID-19 restrictions such as social distancing and mask wearing.

“This is a win for parents, students, teachers and stakeholders,” incoming superintendent Ray Porter said. “I couldn’t be more overjoyed.”

Porter said that lunchroom was the same one he ate in as a third-grader so to see this transformation is surreal.

“To see it transformed into something so metropolitan is just unbelievable,” Porter said. “Dadeville deserves this.”

Two years ago, Tallapoosa County Schools commissioned the architectural firm Goodwin, Mills and Cawood to conduct a facilities assessment at all its campuses. 

“The completion of this project addresses one of the priority needs identified in the assessment,” Windle said. “This renovation was funded from revenue generated by the one-penny sales tax passed for education by the Tallapoosa County Commission in May 2015 and amended in August 2019 for 30 years.”

Tallapoosa County Schools borrowed $25 million for 25 years at 1.96% interest — an incredibly low rate according to Windle.

“With over $21 million in currently ongoing projects, we have a little over $3 million left to address priority needs identified in the facilities assessment,” Windle said. “As always, we will address the pros and cons of the next project and make a recommendation to the board of education later this year.” 

Amy Passaretti is a staff writer with the Alexander City Outlook.