New Cedar Ridge Elementary School opens its doors

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COLUMBIA - Excited faculty, students and parents filled the halls of the new Cedar Ridge Elementary School at its dedication on Monday.

Construction for the new $22 million building began in 2016, so the new school could hold more students and not have any classrooms in trailers. 

Dr. Angie Chandler, Principal of Cedar Ridge Elementary, said more space was necessary because students had to worry about the weather while going to and from their classes. 

"There's a lot of safety issues that you are dealing with when you have a lot of students that are outside the building, as opposed to them being all under one roof," she said. 

Chandler said old building had more students outside in trailers than inside. 

Christy Johnson, the special education teacher for Cedar Ridge, taught her students in a trailer for the past eight years.

She said she is excited for "a new beginning."

"When I walked in, I was able to get the keys on July 9th, and I went to the door and I stood outside the door and I opened the door for the first time and realizing, in all these years, I was finally inside the building again," she said. 

The new building is three times the size of the old one and will hold up to 650 students. 

"It is so nice to have everyone under one roof and have your chicks in one nest," Chandler said. 

Once the ribbon was cut and the crowd cheered, teachers of Cedar Ridge walked through the building giving tours to students and parents. 

Somaly Moore and her 2nd grade daughter, Elyssa,  lives "just down the road."

"So we are really excited that it's close to our house," she said. "We've seen the construction of the new building and seen everything progress and it has been really cool."

Chandler said there were "bittersweet memories" leaving the old building, but the faculty will soon make the new building feel like home. 

The first day of school is Aug. 14.