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Sumner students, teachers begin new school year

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Beech High School students walk from the school’s annex to the main building via a new skywalk on the first day of school. TENA LEE
Craig Martin walks his daughter Scarlett into school on her first day of second grade at Indian Lake Elementary on Monday. TENA LEE

Despite some minor transportation issues, Sumner County students' return to school this week was a smooth one, according to school district Spokesman Jeremy Johnson.

"The first day of school went well," said Johnson, who added it was too early to say how many new students the district welcomed this school year.

Johnson said it's been a particularly busy first week for 20 newly hired bus drivers who are getting used to new routes and traffic patterns. The district was short around 25 bus drivers during the last school year and Johnson noted the district has been able to fill most of those positions.

"We had a few buses that were getting kids home late [on the first day of school], but we expect that to get better as drivers get used to their routes," he said.

Johnson said there also seems to be some confusion concerning bus routes for students who were rezoned to Beech High School from Station Camp, but are remaining at Station Camp High. The Sumner County School board allowed those who are already attending Station Camp to continue attending and to provide one year of transportation. Depending on which neighborhood those students are in, they may ride a bus that takes them directly to Station Camp or ride one that transfers them to the school.

"Students just need to verify with the school which category they fit in," Johnson said.

Also new this school year, students and teachers at three schools returned from summer break to newly renovated facilities.

Beech High School's $13 million renovation included a new skywalk for students to get to and from the school's annex (formerly T.W. Hunter Middle School) to the main building without crossing a parking lot or braving the elements; new secure entrances to both the annex and the main building; new administrative offices; a modernized entrance; renovated classrooms, lockers and restrooms and a newly renovated auditorium.

Jack Anderson Elementary School's $2.4 million renovation included the addition of six classrooms, a new playground and sidewalks and a newly reconfigured driveway to ease traffic congestion in that area.

At White House High School students and teachers returned to a school that underwent a $6.8 million renovation that included new administrative offices, a new clinic, new paint, lockers and restrooms as well as renovations to its media center and science labs.

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