Tools

Overcrowding Leads School System to Expand

By Modupe Idowu
By midowu@wbbjtv.com

PARIS, Tenn. - The new school year has begun for students in Paris and space is at a minimum, but a new multi-million dollar construction project by the Paris Special School District is underway to help with overcrowding.

Crews have been working all summer to complete Phase One of the $9 million construction project at Rhea Elementary.

"We need it, out of room. Every possible area, space, nook and cranny is being used right now for teacher work space, small instruction groups. We"re completely out of space," said Rhea Elementary Librarian Susannah Murphey.

The Pre-kindergarten to 2nd grade elementary school has more than 600 students and is set to add teacher work rooms and 28 classrooms to help the overcrowded building once the three-phased project is complete.

Rhoeisha Jones said she moved with her husband and two children from Davidson County so her children could attend school in Paris.

"I'm glad they are enhancing the school so the children will get better equipment," said Jones.

Phase One includes a new library as well, but the new safe space/cafeteria has parents and teachers relieved.

The whole school has gone to that area which is very tight and very cramped, but we all fit which good. It's very comforting to know especially as a parent with children in the system that every school does have that," said Murphey.

"It makes me feel great when I'm not there. So, I know my kids are protected," said Jones.

Once completed, the school built in 1968 will eventually be torn down, but teachers say they'll keep their memories.