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Yellow Jackets to celebrate new school

Henderson County School Board members, county commissioners, school administrators and Edneyville residents will celebrate the completion of the new Edneyville Elementary School with a ribbon-cutting and public tours at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The ribbon-cutting, which will include remarks by elected officials and school leaders at 10 o'clock before tours, is open to the public.

Designed by Clark Nexsen of Asheville and built by contractors Beverly Grant and Barnhill, the 87,000-square-foot facility cost $24,996,228.

“This project is more than just replacing a 48-year-old school building,” schools superintedent Bo Caldwell said when construction started in August 2018. “With a core capacity of 600 students, and collaborative, state-of-the-art learning environments, the new Edneyville Elementary will serve as a model for safe, innovative schools for years to come.”

The origins of the new school three years ago came amid a pitched battle between the Board of Commissioners and the School Board over capital construction priorities. The School Board had ranked a new Edneyville Elementary School as the top need before school leaders and commissioners engaged in a protracted fight over the future of Hendersonville High School. In a meeting of students' parents at the school in November 2016, School Board member Rick Wood said that commissioners had "stirred up a nest of Yellow Jacket" when they rejected appeals from the School Board and the Edneyville community to move a new elementary school ahead of the HHS construction project. Stung by the county's decision in the early 1990s to abandon Edneyville High School for the new North Henderson High School, apple country natives feared another community school was endangered.

Noting that his wife, Beverly, had taught at Edneyville Elementary for 11 years and he had taught at Edneyville High School, Wood told parents that night the School Board supported a new school.
“I know first hand the pride that you take in your community, in your schools, your churches,” he said. “I know some of you are still hurting about losing your high school. Believe me, we’ll fight for your school.”

Less than six months later, commissioners committed to a new Edneyville school. Originally built in 1968 with additions in 1975 and 1981, the school on Pace Road at U.S. 64 East was in need of major repairs or replacement, a consulting architect told commissioners at the time. Once the project got under way, county commissioners and School Board members have praised the design and construction, which started with site work during the record rainfall of 2018.

The old school will be razed and trailers removed after the move in to the new facility over the Christmas break. The campus includes a full-size gymnasium that will be co-managed by the Henderson County Parks & Recreation Department and made available to the Edneyville community. Inside and out, color accents are Yellow Jacket yellow.