Ragsdale High School to debut $30M makeover

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JAMESTOWN, N.C. -- Ragsdale High School is only days away from opening its doors in Jamestown after a $30 million makeover funded by a bond referendum.

Looking around the new rotunda and media center, Principal Kathryn Rogers said the wait was worth it.

"I'm not nervous at all. We have a great staff. The construction people are great. It does look scary right now," she said. "But it looked a lot scarier last week."

The building is planned to be ready for teachers by Monday. Students start school August 27.

Students Council student leaders took their first tour of the new school Wednesday and will be showing teachers around the building next week for move-in.

"It's just so nice- everything is! I can't get over it," said Student Body President Annie Scheffer. "I'm just ready. We were stuck in the construction zone last year so it's good to finally get something new."

Senior Duncan Sparks said he is glad they won't have to dodge flooded areas when it rains anymore.

"The old building definitely had its problems, and we're very thankful to have the new building," Sparks said.

The new media center boasts high windows for natural light and the latest digital library technology including carts of books waiting to be loaded onto the new shelves.

"Even though we're in a technology and electronic society, there's nothing wrong with a paper book," said Robert Melton of Guilford County Schools. "But we have updated our technology to where we are truly more digital."

That includes the new chorus and band rooms, which each have acoustic boards built into the walls and flat-screen television for teaching instruction.

The gym will not be finished for another two months and athletes and P.E. classes will continue to use the old gym and lockers until October or November.

"I think all of the kids are very appreciative of the new school and will be respectful of it," Scheffer said.

Dr. Rogers said it's hard to let go of the school's history after 20 years at Ragsdale.

"The hardest part was last week when bulldozers came to knock down the first bricks [of the old buildings]. That was sad. I don't usually do the emotional thing, but I did cry," Rogers said.

Rogers said one group has saved a door from the old building and is restoring it.

"They are putting a plaque on it that has a quote about the door to the future really being rooted in the past," she said.