DoDEA Americas Dedicates Bolden Elementary Middle School at MCAS Beaufort

For Immediate Release — October 11, 2019 | Southeast


LAUREL BAY, SOUTH CAROLINA — October 11, 2019 — Laurel Bay, South Carolina – Faculty, staff, students, and guests celebrated the grand opening of Bolden Elementary Middle School at its new location at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina Oct. 8.

“I have had the pleasure and honor to dedicate over 25 schools around the world,” said Mr. Thomas Brady, DoDEA Director. “Not once was did have the opportunity to have the namesake there. This is a first. Maj. Gen. Bolden, and I am proud and happy to have you here.”

As part of the outdoor ceremony, the Parris Island Marine Corps Brass Quintet played the national anthem, Bolden Elementary Middle School Young Leaders of Beaufort led the pledge of allegiance and the music teacher Dr. George Ulmer sang.

The school opened Aug. 19, and the students, teachers, and staff have had almost two months in the school. The building is 104,227 square feet and can host 454 students from third through eighth grade.

Rather than the traditional classroom layout, students learn in neighborhoods arranged by grade, where a few class spaces share a common area and are separated from each other by moveable partitions. This allows the teachers and students from different classes collaborate.

The school is designed to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver-certified facility with sustainable design strategies and enhancements for energy-efficient lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. There are 21st Century teaching tools incorporated into the building such as an energy dashboard for monitoring utility use and LED interactive flat panels with height-adjustable in all education spaces. Additionally, there an Energy Dashboard, which shows energy consumption by learning neighborhoods; and operable partitions to enhance education flexibility and collaboration. The school cost $41.3 million.

In addition to Mr. Brady, retired Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden, Commanding Officer Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Col. Timothy Miller, the Acting Community Superintendent for Laurel Bay Dr. Lisa B. Coleman, and the Bolden Elementary Middle School principal Dr. Angela Stephens delivered remarks to students and special guests.

“So young students here at Bolden Elementary Middle School, soar like eagles,” said retired Maj. Gen. Bolden. “Do all you can, with what you have in the time that you have in the place that you are. We expect big things from you. We know you will live up to those expectations.”

The school is named after Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden, a Marine and the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As Administrator, Bolden led a nationwide NASA team to advance the missions and goals of the U.S. space program. He had a 34-year career with the Marine Corps also included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office. After joining the office in 1980, he traveled to orbit four times aboard the space shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions and piloting two others. His flights included the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope and the first joint U.S.-Russian shuttle mission, which featured a cosmonaut as a member of his crew.

He was born Aug. 19, 1946, in Columbia, South Carolina, and received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical science in 1968 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. After completing flight training in 1970, he became a Naval Aviator. Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, while stationed in Namphong, Thailand between 1972 - 1973.

Bolden earned a Master of Science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. In 1978, he was assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md., and completed his training in 1979. While working at the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates, he tested a variety of ground attack aircraft. He was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1980.