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Demolition begins on 63-year-old Enota school
Debris is loaded and hauled away Monday morning from Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy as demolition crews begin tearing down the longtime Gainesville elementary school at 1340 Enota Ave. A new facility will be constructed on the same campus where the school opened in 1954.

Workers are clearing the way for a $19.3 million school building set to open in 16 months.

Adrian Niles, maintenance and operations director and capital projects manager for the Gainesville City School District, told board members Monday night the project requires “a very quick turnaround.”

Niles told the board demolition and removal of the debris is expected to be completed by June 30.

After demolition, Niles said workers will start grading out the building pad, which is scheduled to be completed by July 7, followed by concrete work to set the perimeters.

He said he expects construction to begin by mid-August. The contractor will have 12 months to complete the new school building in time for the 2018-19 school year that starts in August.

“We’re doing our best,” Niles told board members Monday. “We’re crunched a little bit on time, getting everything out between the time that school ended and the time we had to get started with construction so that the contractor could meet that 12-month window.”

Niles said workers have spent much of the past two weeks clearing out the school, moving teachers out of their classrooms, taking down playground equipment school officials hope to salvage and taking down trees in the far back of the property to make room for a retention pond. There are also going to be some trees planted during the prep work period.

“We’re going to come in and plant some trees to strengthen the border between Cumberland Valley and all the adjacent property,” Niles said. “By the time the school is open, we will have already had trees in the ground for a full 12 months, so we’ll fortify the buffer zone.”

In the meantime, Carroll Daniel Construction Co. in Gainesville, the contractor for the project, has been moving in equipment to begin the work.

“It’s a feat moving a building that’s been occupied for 63 years,” Niles said.

Enota Principal Wesley Roach was on the property on the first day of demolition.

“It seems really, really real now,” Roach said Monday night. “We understand that there’s a lot of work to be done between now and next fall, but best-case scenario we’re looking forward to moving into a new school in just over a year.”

While the building is under construction, Enota students will share the campus of Centennial Arts Academy. School officials have put together a plan that allows the two schools to be as separate as possible during the transition year.

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