First look at newly expanded Wrightsville Beach Elementary School

Wrightsville Beach Elementary renovations complete

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - The pandemic has displaced parents from work and children from school for the past three months. But kids at Wrightsville Beach Elementary school left their classrooms more than a year ago while crews gave the nearly 70-year-old school a makeover.

WECT got a tour of the new and improved design. The square footage of the main school building more than doubled during this renovation, with second story addition that added about 17,000 square feet to the school building. 12 new classrooms will be ready for students in the fall.

While the outside looks nice, administrators say it’s the view from inside that’s most impressive.

“The second floor has the wow factor,” Assistant Superintendent Eddie Anderson told WECT.

“Walking in for the first time, it’s almost breath taking,” Principal Jackson Norvell added.

Skylights throughout the hallway, and classroom windows with views of the water. But it’s not just the setting that school administrators are ready to show off. It’s new finishes and technology upgrades like touch screen TVs in the classrooms. Maybe best of all, the expanded school building will allow students to all fit under the same roof.

“For many years, we were kind of spread out, a little overcrowded. We had more mobile units than we did classrooms. We had two classrooms down at the church and so, just the idea of coming all together, back together, especially these days, we’re beyond excited,” Norvell said.

Teachers seeing the new construction for the first time this week were clearly giddy, touring the expanded media center and their brand new classrooms. A school meant to grow and nourish young minds, built for the future, no matter what that holds.

“From this point moving forward, if we can only have the chance again to be eye to eye with our students again, we will never ever take that for granted. I think for a lot of people, this has been very difficult and very hard, but on the other side of this will come a renewed sacredness around that bond. That human to human interaction. We’re all desperate for it,” Norvell said.

Wrightsville Beach students spent just over a year at Blair Elementary school on Market Street while their own school was under construction. In addition to the aesthetic and square footage upgrades, the new school will be more storm resistant. Crews raised the ground floor, installed flood resistant walls, and moved all the critical technology infrastructure to the second floor.

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