CUMMING, Ga. — The Forsyth County Schools’ building boom continues with a groundbreaking ceremony last week for the district’s 23rd elementary school.
New Hope Elementary will be built on a 42-acre site off Castleberry Road and will open to students in August 2022. The school will help alleviate current and future overcrowding at nearby Whitlow, Vickery Creek, Shiloh Point and Midway elementary schools.
The $28.4 million project is the last of the four schools built under the 2018 bond approved by Forsyth County voters. The $295 million bond was also tapped to build Poole’s Mill Elementary, opened this year, and East Forsyth High School and Hendricks Middle School, both opening in 2021.
The naming of the district’s newest elementary school reflects significant history in Forsyth County, according to School Board member Tom Cleveland, who also serves on the board of the Forsyth County Historical Society.
In 1873 when the Forsyth County Schools’ history began, most schools were simply log buildings with dirt floors built in cleared fields. At the time, Cleveland said, there were 1,456 total students, which included 114 African Americans.
New Hope was one of the largest of the 16 African American schools at that time, and served 44 students. It was located on land donated by Thomas Roper, one of the county’s largest African American landowners at that time.
Based on tax records from the early 1900s, Roper donated 20 acres for the school.
In recommending the name, the Forsyth Historical Society wrote, “[New Hope] echoes across the decades and endures as a positive vision and message, and that the challenges that weigh us down in the past or today, especially those we have faced in 2020, should never dissuade us from imagining a better, more just, and more love-filled future.”
When it opens, New Hope Elementary will be the 20th school opened in Forsyth County since 2000 as the population of the county continues to grow. The district, which has a student population of more than 51,000, is the seventh largest school district in Georgia.