News Column

Trees cleared for Jacksonville construction

August 1, 2014

By Laura Gaddy, The Anniston Star, Ala.

Aug. 01--This week crews in Jacksonville cleared a stand of pine trees from the land on which a new Kitty Stone Elementary School will be built.

The work is the first visible sign of the construction for the project, but school officials have been designing the new building for months. This week, in a day-long meeting with architect Walter McKee, of McKee and Associates Architecture and Interior Design, administrators took another step forward in the planning.

"We've moved pretty quickly in the design process," said school Superintendent Jon Paul Campbell, noting that it began this spring.

This week school officials and architects settled on the size of the school lunchroom, and the dimensions of the dining room. Campbell said the lunchroom will seat about 300 students and the kitchen will be large enough to serve both a middle and an elementary school.

"We're planning on the middle school being built there, but it may be down the road," Campbell said.

Campbell said the architects are nearing the end of the design phase, and that drawings will be sent to the state Department of Education and the city for approval by Oct. 1. Once approved, the system will solicit bids on construction from general contractors, Campbell said.

He added that construction is likely to begin the first of next year.

In late July, school administrators decided to build the gym at the southeast corner of the property, making it visible from the corner of James Hopkins Road and George Douthit Drive. Throughout the rest of the month, school officials met with architects for design meetings, the most recent of which occurred Tuesday.

In June, principals, teachers, aides, office workers and lunchroom staff weighed in on the project, listing their wishes for the new building.

In February, administrators secured $8.6 million for the construction project, adding that sum to $4 million the city of Jacksonville borrowed to build the school, giving officials a total of $12.6 for the building.

After months of debate over where the school should be located, the school board decided on the location near Jacksonville High School. About one month later, the council agreed to give the schools the 30.5-acre lot.


(c)2014 The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.)

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Source: Anniston Star (AL)

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