Getting school ready
Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, July 29, 2014
By Stephanie Nelson and Adam Robinson
It’s all about capital improvement projects for schools in Escambia County, with work ongoing at four schools.
In Thursday’s county board of education meeting, Superintendent John Knott gave updates on projects at W.S. Neal High School, Flomaton, and Rachel Patterson.
“We have three major capital projects going on right now,” Knott said. “We made a visit to W.S. Neal High School today, and you can definitely see the progress in place. You can now see the footprint of what that building is going to look like. It is very exciting to see the movement that is taking place.”
Knot said weather delays has put the project 48 days behind schedule. Completition was scheduled for Jan. 1.
“We are looking at a good 45 to 60 days behind that now,” he said. “But as the project goes on, we will continue to monitor, and I will give up updates on it as well as our plans as far as entering the building. Right now, I think it is a little premature to give a final ending date this far in advance.”
At Flomaton, Knott said contractors are moving along on schedule.
“We also have a project going on a Flomaton High School,” Knott said. “We went there today as well to get updates. The seating has already been taking out and removed from the facility. The updates are in progress. With the construction part of it, we look to be completely through with the lobby area by the time students come back on the 18th. The area inside the auditorium, we will not have the seating in. That won’t take place until the first of October. (Principal Scott) Hammond and his staff are aware of that and they have planned accordingly around that. They should be back in the auditorium by the first of November. So we are in good shape there.”
At Rachel Patterson Elementary School, Knott said there has had some bumps in the road and some delays in getting materials in.
“All the equipment has arrived and we are on route to hopefully finish that up by Aug. 8,” he said. “So hopefully we can get in before the students come.”
At T.R. Miller High School, Superintendent Lynn Smith said the building will see a final inspection on July 30.
“There’s still work to be done, but we’re expecting to get the building signed over to us on July 30,” Smith said. “We should get our first load of furniture on Aug. 5. I’m thinking it will come together. It will be nice for teacher and students when it’s all said and done.”
Smith said passersby will also notice new demolition ongoing at the site, which will make way for more classrooms.
“Construction is going to be ongoing for most of the school year,” he said. “There will be some inconveniences like students won’t walk the shortest distance to class; it will be the safest. I’m proud to say that all students will be in regular classrooms. We don’t foresee using any portables.”
The new wing will include three classrooms, a media center, two different computer labs for distance learning, the school office, student restrooms and a nursing area.