Ceremonial Groundbreaking Builds Excitement for New Harmony Leland Clay Replacement School

A state-of-the-art educational facility at the heart of the Mableton community is beginning to take shape. In Fall 2020, the new replacement school will welcome about 1,000 students from Clay Elementary School and Harmony Leland Elementary school. 

The two school communities and members of the Cobb County School District recently joined together to celebrate the construction of the new school with a ceremonial groundbreaking.  

“When you see the construction of a new school, it is really awesome. We are excited about the new school building and being able to combine Harmony Leland and Clay. Most importantly, we are excited because we said this would be the first Ed-SPLOST project for SPLOST V, and it is the first,” said Cobb Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale. “This is an important moment for the school district and the community. We are looking forward to the ribbon-cutting when we can actually go into the building.” 

Once complete, the new facility will feature 76 classrooms across 186,930 square feet of space, which is three times the size of Clay and more than twice the size of Harmony Leland. The Cobb School Board awarded the contract to build the new school in January 2019.  

Parents, teachers, future students, school board members, and local representatives all turned out for the groundbreaking on Factory Shoals Road. The ceremony took place in the shadow of the construction crews working on the new facility. 

“I think it is going to be a great focal point for the community. It is exciting for Mableton to have something new! One the other side of town with the new Brumby Elementary School, it brought a lot of new energy and excitement into the community, and I think that is exactly what Mableton needs,” said Laura Zhiss, Clay Elementary School parent and PTA president.  

Two of her sons are looking forward to attending the new school. Her oldest is a member of the last fifth-grade class to graduate from Clay. Zhiss and other members of the Clay community have been meeting a lot with the other school, the PTA and School Council talking about the needs of the students and bringing together the two school communities. 

“I think it is going to be amazing for Mableton,” she added.  

Clay parent and School Council member Danielle Link echoed the excitement of her fellow Mableton parent. Link, whose son will start fourth grade at the new school, encouraged parents to get involved and help make more opportunities, like the new school, possible.  

The parents were not the only ones excited about the groundbreaking and progress on the new school in Mableton.  

“I’m so excited about the new building and the new opportunities that the kids will have. I’m really excited about combining with Clay’s staff because I think anytime you bring more teachers together with more creative ideas, students benefit,” explained Michelle Whitesel, a current ESOL and EIP teacher at Harmony Leland.  

Velda Lee, a Harmony Leland fifth grade teacher, agreed with her colleague and noted that the Clay teachers at the groundbreaking were obviously just as excited about what the future of the new school will bring.  

“I think it is going to be a great opportunity for the entire community to have two schools merge. I’m looking forward to the kids. I think it is going to be even more diverse, which will be a great opportunity,” Lee commented. “We are coming into a new era, a fresh start.” 

Community and excitement: Those two words sum up the mood of the groundbreaking for the new Harmony Leland Clay Replacement School.  

“I look forward to the day that we are going to cut the ribbon and walk into the front doors,” Cobb Schools Board Chair David Chastain told the group of excited community members.