“Notice anything different?”
The first question of the school year from the Superintendent was answered Wednesday with cheers and applause from the 428 employees of the Liberty Hill ISD. Teachers and staff met for the first time in the new auditorium at the new Liberty Hill High School — a 900-seat facility that was less than half-full.
“Can you believe we’re in Liberty Hill, Texas?” asked Superintendent Rob Hart. “What a great, historic day to be in Liberty Hill.”
For the majority of teachers and staff, Wednesday marked the first day of the 2013-2014 academic year and it was the first opportunity that most have had to view the new high school, which will open to students on the first class day Tuesday.
The new high school will open to about 950 students, said Principal Bobby Mabry — an increase of 250 since Mabry first became principal in 2007.
Growth in enrollment was the theme of the day as each principal noted the number of students who are expected to report to class next week.
Liberty Hill Intermediate School Princpal Kathy Major is beginning the year with 475 students in the fifth and sixth grades. Those students and teachers will start the year at what was the junior high campus less than three months ago. The building has undergone the most extensive renovations and expansion of all of the construction projects funded by taxpayers in a 2010 bond election.
Construction crews are working around the clock this week trying to ready the facility for a final inspection later this week.
Bill Burden Elementary School Principal Terrie Chambers said 650 students will report to that campus, which houses second, third and fourth graders.
At Liberty Hill Elementary School, 462 students are expected, said Assistant Principal Shelley Brewer.
And at Liberty Hill Junior High, Principal Chad Pirtle said seventh and eighth graders will fill the hallways that once belonged to high school students.
“We are loaded, with no weak links and no chinks in our armor,” he said.
The principals recognized the new employees on their respective campuses. The district hired 19 additional staff members to start the year.
“We are staged for greatness,” said Mrs. Major. “We are grateful to all the visionaries, the planners and the laborers for making greatness for our district inside and out.”
Dr. Hart said with new and improved school facilities, “the bar has been raised again. We’re no longer little Liberty Hill.”
As has become the custom for the first employee convocation of the school year, principals performed a skit.
Wednesday’s performance asked the question whether state lawmakers were smarter than fifth graders, intended to sarcastically address legislation passed in 2013.