Enota Groundbreaking Ceremony
6:30 p.m., July 27
1340 Enota Ave. NE
The president of the construction firm building the new Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy said Thursday night he is “absolutely confident” the building will be completed on schedule in time for the opening of the 2018-19 school year.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do; there’s no doubt about it, but this is the type of work that we do,” Brian Daniel, president of Carroll Daniel Construction, said after meeting with residents, parents and others interested in the Enota project. “The most uncertain part of the project is the site work and as you can see, that’s behind us now essentially.”
Daniel spoke for most of a 30-minute meeting at the Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County building on Riverside Drive Thursday evening. About 40 people turned out to hear about the $19.3 million school building project.
Work has been going on for about six weeks since the 2016-17 school year ended and the old Enota building has been torn down and removed. Daniel said the grading is nearing completion, footings are beginning to be poured and he expects some concrete slabs to begin to be poured by the end of the month. He said the school project will also include planting 242 trees
Daniel, who attended Enota as a child and still lives within a mile of the site where the school is being built, said he wants the people in the community to know what is going on with the work.
“You’ll see work on a very concise schedule,” he said. “It looks like chaos out there, but I can assure you it’s organized and planned chaos.”
He said workers will try to pay attention to the concerns of the community as much as possible, but admitted disruptions may be unavoidable at times.
“We’re always conscious of what’s the least disruptive to the community,” he said. “But the fact of the matter is we’re going to make noise and we’re going to be dirty and dusty. We’ll just try to get out of here as fast as we can.”
Allison Blackwood, who lives in the community expressed concerns about work trucks speeding through the neighborhood.
“I have no problem with concrete trucks coming down the street as long as they are following the speed limit,” she said. “Riverside has become a thoroughfare for those people who do not want to sit in traffic on Thompson Bridge and Green Street.”
Daniel responded that he will try to ensure those concerns are “minimized.”
Blackwood said afterwards she talked with Daniel more and feels that her concerns will be addressed.
Jean-Claude Louis and his wife, Nicole, have a son entering first grade at Enota this year. He said he was glad he came to the meeting.
“It was a good experience for me to be here,” he said. “I think I have an idea about what’s going on in the community. It’s a nice project. I look forward to it being realized.”
Bethany Magnus, who has a daughter entering first grade at Enota, said she was also happy with what she heard at the meeting.
“It sounds like they’re on track, making progress and we’re excited about the new school,” she said.
Gainesville City School System Superintendent Jeremy Williams said other community meetings will be held during the construction process.
“I believe that when we have a meeting like this, what is does more than anything is that it gives the community an opportunity to see how transparent we are with the building process,” Williams said. “There’s going to be issues that we’ll run into; there’s going to be challenges that we have, but we know those things are going to pop up. Rather than trying to be reactive and try to address it when it happens, it’s much better to be out in front of it and let people know what to expect.”
Williams also announced that the school system will hold an official groundbreaking ceremony for the project July 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the construction site on Enota Drive. The ceremony will take place on the first day teachers return and Williams said he is hopeful the Enota staff will be able to join school officials and other for the ceremony.
“It seems that it is kind of late, but we’ve got to have something official,” he said.
While construction is going on, Enota will share the campus of Centennial Arts Academy for the entire 2017-18 school year.