Plans in action - School construction project taking shape

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By Nathan L. McBroom

It may not look like much now, but the gravel and dirt driveway just west of Ardmore Lane will one day be the most popular daily destination of local students.

In the next seven years, the school district will construct three new schools down that lane, with the first of the three set to open in just two years.

And with the recent release of a visual rendering of the first building and the approval of its initial construction bids, the school's appearance is starting to come into focus.

Kerry Whitehouse, assistant superintendent of operations, said the construction process is coming along nicely.

"This building is going to be something that the entire community will be proud of," he said.

The building will be 200,000 square feet and it is designed to hold 1,500 students.

Initially the two-story building will house all of the eighth-and-ninth-grade students in the district. This "8/9 center" will provide relief to the crowded middle and high schools.

Eventually the building will become the district's second high school.

The construction cost of the building is $40 million and the estimated total cost of the building is $47 million.

Between now and November, construction crews will be busy getting the site ready for construction.

Construction on the new building is set to begin the first part of next year.

Whitehouse said the building is on track to open fall of 2008.

And as soon as that building is done, the district will have two more to complete right after it.

The district plans to open its seventh elementary by 2013 and their third middle school in 2015 on the new campus.

When the new middle school is opened the "8/9 center" will become the district's second high school.

The entire new campus project will cost the district $100 million.

As more details on the new schools are released, the district is expected to announce how they plan to incorporate "green designs" into the schools.

These green designs make the schools more environmentally friendly.

The board is set to hear a report on how green designs are being implemented into the schools' design at the board's next meeting on Sept. 11.