‘A breath of fresh air’

The new Nations Ford Elementary building was dedicated Oct. 16, signaling a new day for the school that first opened in 1957.

"It's a breath of fresh air," said Principal Alejandra Garcia.

The new facility is a replacement school built with funds from the 2013 bond and cost approximately $19 million. It has 40 classrooms and is located directly behind E.E. Waddell Language Academy on Nations Ford Road.

Garcia, Superintendent Ann Clark and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education Chairperson Mary McCray spoke at the ceremony. A third-grade class sang "What a Wonderful School" and student ambassadors conducted school tours after the program.

NFES Ribbon cutting_insidepic.jpg"I've been asking students what they like best, and the most consistent answer was 'everything,'" Clark said. "The consistent message from teachers is, 'This is a great space to teach in.'"

Clark emphasized the brightness and cheerfulness of the new space and how energizing it is for students and staff to come to a new school. Larger classrooms and new technology are other advantages that come with a new building.

Nations Ford has a strong sense of community and has experienced double-digit proficiency growth. Garcia said there were some tears shed when the building first opened, along with a feeling of gratefulness.

"It's very powerful to have this building," she said. "The students feel so rewarded."