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Work continues as groundbreaking held for new Enota school
Workers two weeks ahead of schedule
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Shovels and hard hats sit at the Enota Elementary School construction site before a groundbreaking ceremony in Gainesville on Thursday. - photo by David Barnes

Nearly two months after work began, Gainesville City School System officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy.

Gainesville School Superintendent Jeremy Williams called the program Thursday night a “continued groundbreaking” since work began with the demolition of the 64-year-old former building immediately following the end of the school year in May and has continued to move ahead with one of six concrete slabs for the school and a lot of other work already completed.

“The project is going really well,” said Adrian Niles, maintenance and operations director and capital projects manager for the school district. Niles said the project is about “a couple of weeks” ahead of schedule, but added, “we’ll need that as we get into winter weather. It will all level out.”

Enota Principal Wesley Roach agreed that being ahead of schedule now may be important later in the construction process.

“You hear about them getting a little bit ahead of schedule and you want to get excited about it, but then you also want to reserve the possibility that they might run into the still unforeseen come winter,” he said. “So, the way I see it, every week they get ahead this time of year, we put as sort of insurance for what might come up in February or January.”

Roach, who will spend the year with his school sharing the campus of Centennial Arts Academy starting next week, said he is looking forward to coming back in August 2018 to open the new Enota building.

“We’re very excited about what this means for our school and for our community to have a beautiful new facility where our children get to come and enjoy just a bright new vibrant state-of-the-art facility, and yet one that preserves the character and tradition of this great school,” he said. “I believe this community is really going to embrace and enjoy this beautiful new building nestled in this neighborhood.”

School board member John Filson, who represents the Enota community, compared the work going on for the new school to a book.

“Gainesville City School System has been writing a book and it is a book that has been full of chapters,” said Filson. “They’ve been writing some incredible chapters and this is yet another chapter in the Gainesville City School System history, in the Enota history.”

Board member Sammy Smith, who was an Enota student, praised the work of the school board who purchased land and built the first Enota School 65 years ago saying, that the board purchased “this very large property for this neighborhood school. They cast the first vision for the first Enota.”

Smith added that over the years, the school was the place where people came to get the polio vaccine in the 1950s, and where information was given about what to do in case of a nuclear attack in the 1960s.

Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan, another former Enota student, also participated in the groundbreaking.

“It’s very exciting,” Dunagan said. “We’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a beautiful addition to the neighborhood; it’s going to be a beautiful addition to the city school system. It’s sort of bittersweet, too. I remember running around these halls and running around in this old schoolhouse and, like Sammy said, I got my polio vaccine here.”

Niles said work will continue daily and another 400 cubic yards of concrete will be poured for the second concrete slab next week. The concrete work will be done at night, Niles said.

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