Nestled among the antebellum homes along Greenville and LaGrange Streets in Newnan is Atkinson Elementary School, one of the oldest true elementary schools in Coweta County, and named for the president of the City Board of Education, Mr. T.A. Atkinson. To name a single characteristic that makes this school special would be difficult, but surely, Atkinson's rich history would be among those characteristics that gives it its unique flavor.
Atkinson School was begun as a grammar school in 1903 in the home of the Nimmons family, which was located on the current Atkinson campus. In 1909, an eight-classroom, two-story building was erected in place of the home. It served 20 students with one teacher for each grade. Proud of our past, we have on display in our lobby a picture of the two-story structure, complete with knicker-clad students and a custodian (or principal) with a manual push mower.
Nineteen fifty-six saw the demolition of that structure. In its place was built our current one-story school. Instead of 20 students, there were 20 classrooms serving 200 students in grades one through four. Additions and modifications were made in 1987 and 1990 to meet the ever-changing needs of the students.
Though we have grown from 20 students in 1909 to approximately 500 today, Atkinson retains the feel of a small neighborhood school. Surrounded on all sides by homes, it is not uncommon to see the community using the grounds in the evenings and weekends to walk or play outdoor basketball. The community takes ownership in the campus, and many parents, as well as neighbors who do not have children of elementary age, aid in keeping up the grounds, mentoring, and helping wherever they are needed.