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No summer break for school projects
New Chestnut Mountain Elementary set to open in August
Ron Finks, 47, a carpet installer, applies sealant to a carpet Monday inside the new Chestnut Mountain Elementary School. The school will open in the fall. - photo by SARA GUEVARA
There’s no summer vacation for construction workers at area schools. In fact, work has hit high gear as crews try to wrap up work at the new Chestnut Mountain Elementary School, which opens in August for the 2008-09 school year.

"We’re putting floor tiles down, cleaning, landscaping, putting in final drives," said Jerry Huguley, construction manager for the Hall County system.

Not that they want to think about it, with the summer break just getting under way, but teachers and staff can begin moving into the school off Union Church Road in South Hall on June 26.

"We (are trying) to give them a full month to move in and get settled and everything organized before school starts," Huguley said.

The 92,500-square-foot, 900-student school is one of three major school projects under way with a combined cost of $74 million.

The Hall County system plans to convert the current Chestnut Mountain school, which is off Winder Highway about a mile northeast of Ga. 211, into the World Languages Academy.

The district also is building a $30 million middle and high school complex off Spout Springs Road, diagonally from Spout Springs Elementary, to relieve growth from nearby Flowery Branch High and Davis Middle schools.

When finished in 2009, at 252,000 square feet and a capacity for 1,800 students, it will be the largest school ever built in the Hall system.

"It’s about 50 percent complete," Huguley said. "We’re still pouring slab, hanging steel and doing masonry work. ... I think we’re on target."

Other projects include remodeling work at Johnson, North Hall and West Hall high schools, as well as installation of air-conditioning systems in some school kitchens, he added.

In the Gainesville system, the district is about 45 to 50 percent through the construction of the new $33.3 million, 210,000-square-foot Gainesville Middle School, said David Shumake, associate superintendent for the district.

The project is on target for a June 2009 completion and should be ready for students in the 2009-10 school year, Shumake said.

The school will replace the current building at 715 Woods Mill Road.

The 1-cent sales tax program in each of the school districts is paying for most of the construction projects. The city, for example, is getting $11 million in state money to use toward the new middle school.

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