A new elementary school in the Mundy Mill subdivision was officially approved Monday evening, and the ceremonial groundbreaking was held — just before a driving rain soaked the area.
The Gainesville Board of Education unanimously approved a construction contract of $17,434,492 for the school.
Construction is expected to begin in the near future, and the building is expected to be completed by July 2017. Carroll Daniel is the construction contractor for the building.
School is planned to open in the building in August 2017.
The building is on Millside Parkway in the Mundy Mill subdivision.
It has not been named. The board has been debating — and arguing about — a policy for naming facilities for several months.
The new elementary school will have a capacity of 750 students. Architects have said it can be expanded to a capacity of about 1,000.
It will be two stories, have 60 classrooms and will be built on a 17-acre site donated by developer Wendell Starke. It will have about 130,000 square feet.
“We appreciate your generosity. We appreciate your foresight,” Wanda Creel, superintendent for Gainesville City Schools, told Starke on Monday.
“We’re excited to be growing right along with the community,” she added. Houses are being built not far from the school.
Creel also touted the “community room that opens right off the front” as a symbol of the school district’s desire for it to be a community school.
The new school will be the only one of the city’s elementary schools that is not a “choice” school. Creel said at a community meeting in May that all children in the Mundy Mill subdivision will be able to attend the school. The subdivision could have 1,100 houses when it is completely developed.
The school will have a full-size gym and a cafeteria that can seat about 450 students at one time. It will have entrances in the front where parents can drop off students and on the side, where buses will take students.
The money for the new school will come from the education special purpose local option sales tax V, generated by one cent of sales tax on each dollar.
The school has been discussed, off and on, for more than a decade. The subdivision has had multiple owners since its inception more than a decade ago. It went into foreclosure because of the national recession.