GREENVILLE — Though dust and debris remains to be swept up, construction on Greenville’s new K-8 building is moving quickly to its conclusion.
The building, which will house Greenville School District’s Kindergarten through eighth-grade students, is on schedule to be completed on time in mid-November, according to Steve Schroeder, Senior Project Manager with Shook-Touchstone Construction, one of the firms overseeing construction.
“We’re going for temporary occupancy and safety inspections starting next week,” he said. “We’re working with the local inspectors and the state fire marshal to make it happen as fast as we can.”
Students, teachers and staff, however, will not be using the facility until after they return from Christmas break on January 12.
The new K-8, with 234,000 square feet, will accommodate an estimated 1,900 to 2,000 students. The district currently has 1,700 Kindergarten through eighth-grade students.
The exterior of the building is complete, from the green roof to the brickwork, doors and windows. Contract workers are completing finishing touches inside, including painting, installing fixtures, assembling and placing furniture, and finishing floors.
On the grounds, the parking lot’s asphalt has been laid and parking striping is being applied. Playground equipment and fencing is in the process of being installed. Much of the grass has been planted.
The school is divided into three portions: a 5-8 wing on the south end, a K-4 wing on the north side, and an administrative section in the center. Further, the Kindergarten will be contained in a single-floor wing that goes out from the middle of the 1-4 academic wing to the north with nine Kindergarten classrooms. Each of these classrooms has a restroom. The wing also features a Kindergarten gymnasium and storage room.
Occupants of the building will see a lot of “Greenwave Green” in the new facility, especially on the floors. Greenville Superintendent Doug Fries pointed out the new school’s terrazzo flooring, which will be in all hallways and common areas.
“It’s a little harder for construction, because it’s a long process,” he said.
“It’s durable, it’s going to last longer, you get more bang for you buck,” said Schroeder. “There’s a slight premium to it, but in the long term, you’re way ahead.”
Fries and Schroeder showed The Daily Advocate an example of the school’s “extended learning areas,” featuring portable, partitioned walls which will allow teachers to enlarge or reduce the size of their learning spaces, giving them the option to combine with other classes. The school features eight such areas.
“They also open so you can bring in a third teacher or a resource teacher,” Fries explained, which will give them greater opportunities for collaboration.
The school features a “cafetorium” — combining the cafeteria and stage area. The other side of the stage empties into a gymnasium, one of two gyms in the building.
Near the gyms are large locker rooms for junior high sports, with shower rooms as well as office space for coaches.
The school features two courtyard areas, one for the 5-8 wing, the other for the K-4 area, which will give students and teachers the chance to learn in an outdoor setting.
“The courtyards are unique,” said Schroeder. “You don’t see these in a lot of buildings. This one has two. You’ve got metal roof everywhere, and you’ve got terrazzo everywhere in all the common space, corridor spaces. Those are three things districts shoot for — you’ve got all three [here].”
“What you’re doing is extending your learning space,” said Fries.
Built-in display cases, located near the art classrooms and the commons areas, will be used for things such as student art work. The band rooms contain multi-sized cages for instruments.
One distinguishing feature of the new school is the amount of storage areas, which will be used for everything from cafeteria tables to books to wrestling mats.
“You can never get enough storage,” said Fries. “I can think I’ve got enough storage and then someone’s going to come to me and say ‘I want two barns out here.’”
The playground areas for the younger grades features rubber type surfaces to protect children from serious injuries from falls.
“Our PTA at Woodland [Primary] gave us a $30,000 contribution to help offset this,” said Fries. “It was an add-on, it was pretty expensive.”
One of the side benefits of building the new school was being able to involve area contractors in the school’s construction.
“Walls Bros. is doing the pavement, Greenville Glass is doing the windows, you also have MetCon doing concrete. We’ve had a lot of local involvement in the construction,” Fries said.
“We’re down to finishes at this point — painting, shelving, flooring, cleaning,” said Schroeder, who estimated the project is now about 90 percent complete.
Fries expressed his appreciation for all those involved in making the new school building a success.
“The project has gone well. The district has been pleased with the teamwork of all contractors and with the quality of their work,” he said. “We have appreciated Garmann Miller Architects & Engineers, Shook Touchstone, and Gilbane all monitoring the construction process. The district is looking forward to the close of the construction process in the upcoming month and then the move to the new facility. The district is excited to get in the new state-of-the-art educational facility. The district again is very appreciative of the community support for this new K-8 school.”
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