HUNTERSVILLE – With about half its student population now attending the new Grand Oak Elementary School, teachers say Torrence Creek Elementary School feels like a new school of its own.
The first days were unusually quiet, teachers Jasamine Davis and Liz Maino said.
The cafeteria wasn’t as crowded or loud as it was in years past. Parents can find a parking spot, the car drop-off line doesn’t block traffic on the main road and the number of buses needed to transport students is about half of what it was.
Torrence Creek has needed mobile units to accommodate overcrowding since it opened nine years ago.
Enrollment has dropped from 1,100 students last year to 550. The 23 mobile units and the eight-classroom modular unit have been torn down, and all faculty and students can work and learn within the school.
“The rooms have been the biggest surprise,” Davis said. “There’s all this space.”
Davis is starting her third year of teaching at Torrence Creek. She formerly taught her fourth grade class in a mobile unit.
Maino, who has taught six of her nine years at Torrence Creek in the modular, agreed about the “huge” space they have now.
“It just seems like it’s more personable,” the third grade teacher added. “You can see and talk to teachers more easily because everyone’s inside the building.”
As grade level chair, Davis said it’s easier for her to communicate with other teachers, whereas before they were in six different spots. By the time her message got around, it was different than what she told the first person.
“It’s kind of like (the game) telephone,” Davis said. “By the time it gets to the last person, it’s completely changed.”
Students also feel more included being in one building, the teachers said. They felt separated from the rest of the school in the mobile units.
With everyone together under the same roof and this being her first year to lead Torrence Creek, Principal Leah Davis wants to create a family atmosphere within the school.
The spilt of the school was difficult for many because colleagues who worked together for several years were now going to be at different schools, she said. The same goes for students whose friends are no longer at Torrence Creek.
It’s been a time of healing as well as re-establishment, she said.
“We still miss our Grand Oak people,” Jasamine Davis said. “Every day.”