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Northside Early Childhood Center: Residents skip meeting but will hear noise

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Contractors want to start foundation this year

By Todd Martin

Shelby County Public Schools invited the public on Thursday to attend an informational meeting on the development and plan for the new Northside Early Childhood Center, which will be built on the site of the old Northside Elementary School at 821 College St. in Shelbyville.

Although the public largely did not attend – the meeting was made up of school and construction personnel, a couple or representatives from the nearby Shelby County Public Library and county and city employees – the school district did have one important message to get out: “Anyone having concerns in the community [on the schedule or work being done at the school] should contact me or Doug Boston,” said Kerry Whitehouse, the assistant superintendent in charge of operations.

This Energy Star-rated school, which is scheduled to be ready for use by the district in January 2014, is in its beginning stages.

“When finished, it will have the capacity for three hundred preschool students in two separate sessions, so one hundred and fifty in the morning session and one hundred and fifty in the afternoon,” Whitehouse said. “Although we do not expect to open it at capacity, it will allow us to free up space at Heritage, Wright, Painted Stone elementary schools and others.”

Barry Clements of BCD Contractors said his crew is ready to get started.

“We hope to finish prepping the site by the middle of next [this] week, and get started on the demolition in the next two or three weeks. We’re going to try to start the foundation on [the north east] side and then work our way [east] around to the front and then to the [west] side. We’d like to get some of the foundation down this year before it gets too sloppy.”

Clements said he expects the jobsite to be active between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., and although employees would try to do their work quietly, there will be some noise.

“There will be some noise, especially when we’re drilling, but once we finish that, the rest will seem quiet,” he said.

The crew has closed Petry Street, which it will use as a staging area, although an emergency path will be kept in place for those students in the OVEC Head Start Program, which will remain open during construction.

Two differences between the new school and the old Northside is there will be a contained road around the school on the inside of the property, allowing buses to move around without using the streets, and the site will contain more than enough parking for the employees and for after-school events. There are currently more than 45 parking spots planned for the east side of the school.

Clements and K. Norman Berry & Associates’ lead architect, Harry Dumesnil, both talked about the plans to recycle as much of the old Northside building as possible – and not just for use in the new building. Clements said much of the building that cannot be used in the new building would be sold to another company, which would recycle that material.