Forest Oaks worth the wait

When Forest Oaks Elementary School opened for instruction on Jan. 6, it was hard to tell who was more excited – the staff or the students.

The new school, which will serve more than 700 students, was supposed to open in August 2013, but the date was pushed back to January 2014 after inclement weather slowed down construction.

It was a tough but necessary decision to make sure the school had time to pas all safety inspections, Shelby County School Superintendent Randy Fuller said at the time.

The wait was worth it. The new school is beautiful, functional and will serve the Chelsea community for years to come.

“Our transition into the new school has been very smooth and seamless,” Principal Dr. Resia Brooks said. “We’re looking forward to our inaugural year and we’re excited about all the possibilities.”

Students were able to visit the school prior to the holiday break, and teachers began preparing their classrooms in December as well.

Forest Oaks features a state-of-the-art media center, a cafeteria that doubles as a performance space, a 7,600-square-foot gymnasium and a 12,000-square-foot tornado shelter.

“They are very excited,” Brooks said of the students’ visit. “Their favorite places are the gym and the media center.”

There is also room to grow, which is a good thing for Chelsea, one of the fastest growing cities in the state. The school currently serves more than 700 students, but it was designed for approximately 1,000 students.

Forest Oaks’ opening was the culmination of a group effort by many stakeholders. The city of Chelsea donated $500,000 for the gym and $300,000 for the construction of Hornet Parwkay, which will connect Shelby County 47 to the school. The school’s name was chosen by a committee of school and government leaders and parent representatives.

We would also like to thank the Shelby County School System for its leadership in this project. It wasn’t an easy decision to delay the school’s opening, but it was the right one.

The editorial is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.