RANDOLPH COUNTY — Within nine months of its scheduled opening, a new middle school in Trinity now has its principal.

The Randolph County Board of Education named Aaron Barr, currently principal of Hopewell Elementary, principal of the new Trinity Middle School, which is anticipated to open August 2021. Barr will move on Jan. 19 to start his new position, setting up the new school prior to its coming online next fall.

In 2019, the county cleared the way for a new Trinity Middle School. Proposed to end overcrowding at Archdale-Trinity Middle School — currently the feeder school for both Trinity and Wheatmore high schools — the new school will be located on Daniels Circle off Surrett Drive in Trinity.

This $34.5 million project was made possible by Elizabeth Aldridge, along with her late husband Bill Aldridge, who donated 69.5 acres off Surrett Drive more than 20 years ago. Preparations for the project are more than two decades in the making, as plans were facilitated in 1996 to place sixth grade at Braxton Craven and send seventh- and eighth-grade students to Archdale-Trinity Middle because of overcrowding.

The new school will serve up to 750 students in grades 6-8, feeding Trinity High. Archdale-Trinity Middle will be realigned with Wheatmore High School.

Also during the school board meeting, further shuffling of administrators was announced. David Cross, principal at Archdale-Trinity Middle School, will transition to a new position as director of Career and Technical Education for RCSS.

School board member Matthew Lambeth completed his tenure with the board, bidding farewell in his final meeting last week.

Lambeth said he was proud of what the board had accomplished while he was serving, and he credited the staff for improving education in Randolph County over the last decade.

“Twelve years ago, I came on the board and we had one of the highest dropout rates in the state of North Carolina,” Lambeth said. “A couple of my close friends had dropped out, and that was my passion. I wanted to see that corrected. When I came here, the board rallied behind that, and we got a really great program in place now that leads the state. We have one of the lowest dropout rates in the state.”

The board also revealed changes to the school calendar for Dec. 14-18. That week’s remote learning day was moved from Dec. 16 to Dec. 18, so now that Wednesday will be a face-to-face instruction day for students in grades Pre-K through 5, as well as B-day students in grades 6-12.

The same change has been made for Jan. 11-15, when the remote instruction day was again moved from Wednesday to Friday. Those changes were made as a result of the high school exam schedule, but the adjustments apply to all elementary, middle and high schools in the school system.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.