Grovetown High School students got their first glimpse of the new school during an open house Tuesday.
Hundreds of students and their parents roamed the hallways of the school on Chamblin Road, checking out classrooms and obtaining their course schedules.
"I'm excited about coming here," said Kassie Tenaro, a former Harlem High student who will be a sophomore at Grovetown High. "The staff have been so open and nice. They've all been coming up to me and asking me if I'm ready for school and welcoming me."
The 15-year-old also liked the "openness" of her new school.
At 250,000 square feet, Grovetown High easily surpasses the county's next largest school, 190,000-square-foot Greenbrier High.
Camisha Burton, a 17-year-old senior, had the option to remain at her former school, Harlem High. Instead, she chose to become a member of the first graduating class at the new school.
"It's not something everyone gets to do," she said.
Camisha said she expects to see many of her former Harlem classmates at the new school.
Because of rezonings approved in 2008, Harlem High lost about 600 students to the new $40 million school. About 400 former Greenbrier students were rezoned for Grovetown, and 100 others were rezoned for Harlem. Evans High lost 200 to 300 students, with about half rezoned for Grovetown High and the other half rezoned for Lakeside.
When classes start Monday, school officials are expecting 1,000 to 1,200 students to cross the threshold at Grovetown.
Before Tuesday's open house, a dedication ceremony was held in a packed gymnasium.
One particularly proud audience member was former Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau, who said he has pushed school officials to build a Grovetown high school for about 20 years.
"I'm walking on air," Mr. Trudeau said after the ceremony. "It's a great thing for the kids of Grovetown to have a place that they can call their own.
"This is something that makes us all very proud."
Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or firstname.lastname@example.org.