Oakhurst has had many lives in CMS. It began as an elementary school, became a high school and later reverted to an elementary school. A devastating fire in 1958 destroyed everything but the gym. It was rebuilt and a car crashed into the building two years later. In 2011, Oakhurst Elementary was closed because of budgetary constraints. On Nov. 19, students, parents, staff and community members gathered to celebrate the dedication of the renamed, reopened and renovated Oakhurst STEAM Academy.
Today, Oakhurst is a partial magnet with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The school has 95,000 square feet and 37 classrooms. The renovation is one of the projects from the 2013 bond. The renovations included building code updates, an upgraded fire and sprinkler system and new playgrounds, as well as new furniture, fixtures and equipment.
"Just like the roots of the mighty oak tree, our school continues to thrive," said Principal Tisha Greene during the ceremony.
Tom Tate, who represents District Four on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, told students to go to school ready to learn, to read everything they could set their eyes on and, most importantly, to ask questions.
"We are grateful that the members of our county passed the 2013 bond. With their help we have been able to reopen this school," he said.
The program also included remarks from Superintendent Ann Clark.
"For four years, I visited Oakhurst when it was an office building, and I would see the mural located in the front of the building and think, 'This building needs to have children,'" said Clark. "I almost did a celebratory fist pump when I walked in this morning because now there are children in this building."
The ceremony also featured two musical selections sung by students, followed by a ribbon-cutting and a school tour.
"I feel that our school is truly a pillar in the community. It is surrounded by so much community support," said Dr. Greene. "From the first day I became principal, our community has made sure our families and students have what they need to succeed. We all feel it and appreciate it."