MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - As classes begin Thursday for Charleston County Schools, there are a number of brand new schools opening up for the school year.
Michael Antonelli is the principal of the brand new Carolina Park Elementary school in Mount Pleasant.
"It's exciting! I'm ready to go!" he says.
Antonelli praises what he calls his state-of-the-art classrooms.
"We have lots of flexible seating, touchscreen boards and we have something called a learning wall which provides lots of storage space for the teacher and the students," he says. He also calls the cafeteria/auditorium a multi-purpose room with a stage.
"The way the building is set up, our music rooms have access to the back of the stage, so as we do evening performances, it easy for the kids to go back and forth," he says.
The school also has artificial turf for the kids instead of grass. School officials say it's easier on the kids and on the staff.
Reggie McNeil is executive director of capital programs for the school district and says this artificial turf is easier to maintain.
"Rather than having just regular sod and dirt that gets trampled on by the children, when they go outside to play, this has a longer life than the actual grass itself," McNeil says.
There's something else this new school has: the school colors of blue and green are inlaid on the floor of the entrances to the building.
When school starts, Antonelli lives close to the school, he plans to bike to his office on nice days. This is the second school he has started; he was the first principal of Laurel Hill Primary and because of rezoning, he'll see some of the same students who went there coming to Carolina Park.
"And I'm excited to replicate the success we saw there," he said.
McNeil says it took about 18 months to finish Carolina Park at a cost of about $34 million.