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Groundbreaking ceremony marks official beginnings of New Hope Elementary School construction
Forsyth County School Board members, Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden, Bowen & Watson Inc. leaders and Smallwood associates pick up their shovels to celebrate the official start to the construction of New Hope Elementary School. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Forsyth County Schools held a groundbreaking for New Hope Elementary School at the construction site on Castleberry Road on Tuesday, Oct. 20. 

Forsyth County Board of Education members and Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden attended the ceremony along with leaders from Bowen & Watson Inc., the construction company taking on the project, and from Smallwood, the architectural and interior design firm. 

They each picked up a shovel Tuesday, ceremoniously digging into the site and officially starting the construction project, which is expected to be completed before the school’s opening in August 2022. 

“We’re delighted to continue Bowen & Watson’s relationship with and partnership with Forsyth County Schools in bringing to life here a vision for New Hope Elementary School, which is a place where children will have the tools to realize their dreams to success,” said Drew Watson, the president of Bowen & Watson Inc. “We believe this building will become a source of pride for the community for years to come.” 

Smallwood Associate Jeff Miller spoke at the ceremony, highlighting some of the school’s unique design features that he said will facilitate student learning. 

The 148,000-square-foot building will feature plenty of windows at the front of the building, in the media center and in the classrooms. One point of pride for the architect is the campus courtyard, which students will be able to look out onto from classrooms. 

“We’re excited about it, and we hope that the teachers and principal and the students will be excited about it and will really look forward to coming to a school that is really something different,” Miller said. 

Director of Construction Tom Wening said at an earlier Board of Education meeting that the building will include 74 classrooms for a capacity of 1,100 students. The new school, which will be the 23rd elementary school in Forsyth County, is expected to help with “current and future” overcrowding at Whitlow, Vickery Creek, Shiloh Point and Midway elementary schools.  

Named after one of the first and largest schools in Forsyth County for African-American and Black students, the $28 million New Hope Elementary school will sit on the west side of Castleberry Road, just north of Bethelview Road.