New Suffolk schools on schedule
Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Two new Suffolk schools are on schedule to be ready for the fall 2018 semester.
Norfolk-based contractor Blueridge General is heading construction of the Florence Bowser Elementary and Col. Fred Cherry Middle schools. RRMM Architects designed both schools with open and modern spaces for project-based learning.
Project manager Robert Hudson III said the middle school is about 50- to 55-percent complete, while the elementary school is at about 55- to 60-percent. Both schools are on schedule to be built by late spring, then be furnished and ready for students that fall.
Email newsletter signup
“They’re neck-and-neck,” he said.
Col. Fred Cherry Middle School on Burbage Drive was named by a unanimous School Board vote in February, honoring a Suffolk native who was held prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than seven years and died in 2016.
The two-story, 125,200-square-foot building will relieve overcrowding at John Yeates Middle School with more than 25 classrooms to accommodate about 800 students.
The building is organized into two zones, with public spaces located across the front of the building. Three different grade wings along the back are separated by a main circulation corridor or “main street.”
According to RRMM Architects website, the building is organized into two zones, with public spaces located across the front of the building. Three different grade wings along the back are separated by a main circulation corridor or “main street.”
Electives are located along “main street,” which allow students from different grades to access the space without having to enter other grade houses,” according to the website. “The openness, coupled with abundant natural light, present dynamic interior spaces conducive to a productive learning environment.”
Hudson said the concrete masonry units for the building are expected to be finished within a month, along with structural steel. Having steel and roofing in place will be a milestone for the construction crews as they finish interior work, he said.
“It protects us from weather, so we don’t lose any more time due to rain delays,” he said.
Florence Bowser Elementary on Nansemond Parkway is named after an educator that taught in Suffolk and other Virginia localities for more than 50 years.
The school will replace Driver Elementary School and relieve overcrowding at Creekside Elementary School. It will encompass more than 114,800 square feet and house approximately 1,000 students.
Concrete masonry and structural steel are expected to be completed at the new elementary school in the next two weeks, Hudson said.
According to Blueridge General president Eric Stichler, major finishes for both schools like flooring, ceilings, painting and dry walls are expected to be installed around December.
“We’re still working on superstructure, but everything is still on schedule and going well,” Stichler said.