A new era for Tusculum Elementary as building construction begins

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For Nevaeh Mays, a 5-year-old preschooler at Tusculum Elementary School whose favorite subject is math, the Oct. 29 groundbreaking ceremony was the center of her curiosity.

"I want to see the construction," she said.

Tusculum Elementary School broke ground on its new building construction, beginning a project that will conclude during the 2016-2017 school year and includes a two-story building with 53 classrooms, a media center with a classroom and conference room, an expanded cafeteria, kitchen and serving lines, a community room, as well as playground equipment.


Roy Black, a longtime next door neighbor to the school, said the new building was welcomed. "That's what it's all about, the kids," he said.

Tusculum School Neighbors Roy Black and Don Brown attended the school's groundbreaking ceremony held October 29.

Interim Director of Schools Chris Henson said the new school will accommodate 800 students, alleviating the school's overcrowding.

Metro Schools Interim Director of Schools Chris Henson speaks at the Tusculum Elementary School Groundbreaking Ceremony.

"Unlike most urban school districts, our student population within Metro Schools has seen consistent growth for many years, and that growth is projected to continue. We have a net increase of about 1,500 to 2,000 students every year. Our schools in southeast Nashville in particular have seen rapid growth ... ," said Henson. "Thanks to the support of our city’s leadership and our Board of Education, $17.3 million was allocated in capital funding to support this project. We have been fortunate in recent years to have a Mayor and a Metro Council that recognize the importance of our school’s capital needs, and we look forward to working with Mayor Barry in this same regard in the near future."

Mayor Megan Barry turned to the group of students and told them about their new building, evoking cheers from the students. See the video below.

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Nashville Metro Mayor Megan Barry speaks at the Tusculum Elementary School Groundbreaking Ceremony held on October 29, 2015.

Tusculum Elementary School Principal Alison McMahan spoke about her personal connection to the school's history, having a family member who attended the school.

Tusculum Elementary School Principal Alison McMahan speaks at the October 29 Groundbreaking Ceremony.

"Thirty years ago my family moved to South Nashville. While I attended McMurray Middle school right down the street, my sister attended Tusculum Elementary. My family spent many nights working with PTO Spaghetti suppers, and volunteering in these very halls. Fast forward thirty years. I stand before you today as the proud Principal of this eighty year old school," McMahan said.

The teacher who taught McMahan's sister actually still works at Tusculum.

"I remember her sister," said Ann Mattox, who taught 3rd grade at Tusculum Elementary for 25 years before trying to retire. She was called back to be a Reading Interventionalist, which she has been for the past five years. "I remember not even having a telephone in my classroom. We had to go to the office to make phone calls," Mattox recalled. The culture of the school has evolved with more English Language Learners, according to Mattox.

Principal McMahan explained how the school now reflects the community's growth over the past eighty years.

"Nolensville Road has moved from a two lane road in a farming community to become a major urban thoroughfare. The school originally built to serve as a one-room schoolhouse now welcomes over 725 learners who speak 19 different languages," McMahan said. "The school boasts 24 portables (including a bathroom portable) which see more students during the day than the main building. The electrical system was installed during a time before computers, printers, laminators, or projectors were even invented. Simply, the school has evolved beyond the physical limitations of the building."

"Today is a celebration of a new era for Tusculum. This beautiful new school will kick off a new phase for the entire community as a bright, shining community center and meeting space for all," said Principal McMahan.

Download high-resolution photos from the Groundbreaking below:

Group Photo - Groundbreaking Ceremony

Group Photo - Groundbreaking Ceremony


Mayor Megan Barry - Groundbreaking Ceremony

Interim Director of Schools Chris Henson

Tusculum Elementary School Principal Dr. Alison McMahon

Metro Schools Board of Public Education Member Dr. Jo Ann Brannon

Click here for more information on the construction of the new building.