Construction and design of the new Kitty Stone Elementary School was the primary topic at Monday’s Jacksonville school board meeting.
Two of the biggest components of the project, a competition gymnasium and a storm shelter within the school, were both discussed at length. Lee Koepke, a pre-construction manager for Georgia-based firm Ra-Lin, spoke to the board about the practicality of both locations on the property of the new school.
“The project has grown just a little because of the feature element, which is the gym,” he said.
Koepke said the gym, with seating for about 1,100, would now be visible from the street at the corners of James Hopkins Road and George Douthit Drive near the site of Jacksonville High School.
“This will allow for a good visual impact,” he said.
He said the recent changes in the gym’s structure will allow for larger changing rooms, which had been noted as a point of concern earlier.
“If you are having a large event, you will want people to be able to move around,” he said.
Jon Campbell, superintendent of Jacksonville City Schools, said the shelter would be able to withstand a direct hit from a large tornado.
“It will hold roughly 1,400,” he said. “It is pretty much a bunker.”
Campbell also said the shelter would offer protection in the event of a wide range of catastrophes.
“If you were in a worst-case scenario, like in a lockdown situation, that is probably going to be the safest place in Jacksonville.”
A change to the visitor’s center in the new elementary school will set it apart from others in the area, Campbell said. This will be the only area visitors will be allowed to go to on the school grounds, he said, with the office security resembling that of bank-teller windows.
As for the progress of the school itself, Campbell was optimistic of the work ahead.
“I think we are going to get a little step or two closer after our next meeting with all parties involved,” he said.
Board members said they anticipate that locals will begin to see trees come down at the school site around the time the new school year starts.
In other business, the board:
- Unanimously approved a decision to amend the 2013-14 Jacksonville High School Supplemental List
- Unanimously approved an iPad handbook and use agreement for the 2014-15 school year.
- Unanimously approved a decision to award Child Nutrition Program Milk Bid to Dean Dairy Holding/Barber Milk LLC for the 2014-15 school year, with an option to renew up to five years.
- Unanimously approved a price increase for Child Nutrition Program by 10 cents for the 2014-15 school year in compliance with federal law and USDA requirements.
- Unanimously approved a measure to allow the Jacksonville High School varsity cheerleaders to travel to a UCA cheerleading camp in Panama City Beach, Fla.
- Unanimously approved a decision to allow a sixth grade reading class to attend “A Christmas Carol” in Atlanta in December.
The next scheduled board meeting will be held on Aug. 18 at the board’s central office at 4 p.m.