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New Fair Street school on target for fall opening

Construction currently ahead of schedule

POSTED: February 16, 2013 1:30 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Kevin Dennen with Charles Black Construction Co. measures sections of weatherproofing for installation Friday.

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Elementary school students in Gainesville could start the next school year in a new building if all goes according to plan.

If construction crews working on the new Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School continue working ahead of schedule, the school could be ready by this summer. If crews run into a problem, the move-in date could be pushed back to October. The original completion date was set for December.

"(Crews) are really a little bit ahead of schedule and are doing a really great job of making things in a way where we can get there as soon as possible," assistant principal Kim Davis said.

The Charles Black Construction Co. issued a construction progress report to school officials detailing the work that has been completed and the projects next on the list.

In the classroom wing of the building, 80 percent of the rooms have been painted and the work to install light fixtures is under way. The installation of the metal truss roof system is also 80 percent complete. The roof top HVAC equipment has been installed and duct work throughout the building is 90 percent complete.

During the next month, crews expect to have electrical and gas services turned on for the building. They also expect to begin installing metal roofing on the front and side entryways.

The building will span 104,000 square feet at a budget of $15 million. Staff and students are temporarily located at Woods Mill Academy until the new building is ready.

Davis said she likes to stop by the new school and take a few photos of the outside of the building every week to show the students their school’s progress.

"I took a little movie of some of the workers working so kids could see what sort of jobs are involved in building our new school," Davis said.

Davis said the students are all very excited about moving into the new school. After showing the students the school’s blue prints for the first time, Davis said the students were amazed to see they’ll have sinks and water fountains in each classroom.

The plans are also being used to help the students learn their lessons.

Davis said she spoke with a class of third-graders about how to find the building’s perimeter and how to use math to figure out how many tables, desks and chairs will be needed at the school.

"We’re taking the plans from the architect and turning it into math lessons just to build excitement about moving into the new school," Davis said.

In March 2012, the old Fair Street School was torn down and construction began on the new facility. The school has been a fixture in the Fair Street neighborhood for more than 75 years.

The school will have a heritage hall near the bell tower. The hall will be lined with trophy cases filled with school memorabilia.

Davis said she hopes Fair Street alumni from 1937 on will allow the school to display items from the school’s history.

"There is a lot of history for our school from back in the day," Davis said. "We’s like to have as many things to represent those times as we possibly can."



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