Hall County School District officials reported a headcount of 25,908 students Monday, the first day of class for the new school year.
The number is 585 students more than what was recorded on the first day last year, according to Gordon Higgins, director of community relations and athletics for the district.
Monday's elementary school count of 11,683, is an increase of 17 students over last year; middle schools reported 6,250 students, an increase of 255; and high schools recorded 7,975 students Monday, an increase of 313.
"I am somewhat surprised by the substantial jump in the number of students at the middle and high school levels form the first day of school last school year, which could be explained, in part, by the fact that we started this school year on a Monday compared to a Friday start last year," superintendent Will Schofield said in an afternoon media release. "However, it could also indicate higher final enrollment numbers than we had anticipated."
Officials expect the number to rise over the next two days. Last fall, the headcount increased by 921 students from the first to the third day of classes.
The nearly 26,000 students Monday meant an adjustment for drivers encountering more vehicles on the road after the summer reprieve.
Schofield said about half of those students ride on school buses. That's about 14,000 students spread among roughly 300 school buses.
"The others almost never ride the bus, which means they're either car riders or drivers themselves," Schofield said on WDUN's Morning News with Bill & Joel.
As those students reached one of 34 schools, many experienced $20 million in additions and renovations to several buildings, including Flowery Branch Elementary.
"The workers with major renovations there this summer literally were going out the back door as the teachers were coming in the front door," Schofield said.
Over the summer, North Hall High School received about $6 million in heating, air, roofing and other upgrades. And one of the more noticeable summer projects also involved a high school.
"West Hall High School is going to be so proud of their new addition over on their second gymnasium that also includes some instructional space and what I call the, 'sky box,' where you'll be able to watch activities out on the football field," Schofield said.
In addition to buildings, Schofield said the district is also ready to go with instruction. The district is up to roughly 29 programs of choice, according to Schofield, with the early college program expected to have record numbers this year.
Also in the region, public school students in Gwinnett County started classes Monday. White County schools and Lanier Christian Academy begin the school year on Wednesday.
Of the Hall County start, Higgins wrote, "from early indications, everything has gone well at all schools within the district."