New elementary school plans revealed

Published 9:20 pm Friday, June 15, 2012

The new elementary school, represented here in a design proposal presented to the Suffolk school board, is reportedly on track for completion in June 2014.

A new elementary school serving the southwestern portion of Suffolk would be ready for move-in by mid-June 2014, according to a project update to the School Board.

Presenting to Thursday’s School Board meeting, RRMM Architects Chief Executive Officer Duane M. Harver revealed design plans for the 700-pupil school, replacing two schools nearby that are either aging or closed.

Pre-K, kindergarten and first and second grades would be housed on the first floor, and third, fourth and fifth grades on the second floor. Special education classrooms would be on both levels.


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The plan includes learning nooks on the eastern and western ends of both levels, a media center open between both levels, and adjoining gymnasium and lunchroom, which open into a single space.

“A partition between the gym and the cafetorium can be raised, and they can be used together,” Harver said.

The school would sit at the corner of Holland and Pioneer roads, the front entrance facing the latter, and feature separate entrances for cars and buses.

“The entrance of buses is completely isolated from the car entrance as well as the bus loop,” Harver said.

Outside, the school would include 70 parking spaces initially, an area set aside for future additional spaces, and overflow parking; hard-surface, first- to fifth-grade and pre-school play areas; a space for field games; and soccer and softball fields.

The proposed design is almost identical to Hillpoint Elementary. “It’s very similar,” said Harver, responding to a question from board member Phyllis Byrum. “Some of the classrooms have been taken out.”

The entrance design could change, Harver indicated. “We are still working on details for that entryway, but this is what we generally anticipate the look to be,” he said.

Harver said the new school would require alterations to Pioneer Road. “On Pioneer Road there will certainly be some development of that road, to allow access in and out of this site, that is not presently there,” he said.

District Superintendent Deran Whitney said zoning and the naming of the new school would be hashed out over the new school year.

The closing date for the land transfer is set for June 29, district spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw stated in an email.

The project schedule sets out final completion of the early site by Oct. 26, awarding of the construction contract by Nov. 15, and substantial project completion by May 15, 2014.

Harver described the construction schedule as “fairly comfortable,” with “plenty of time to get furnishings together and move in.”