By Michele Dotson - Staff Writer
Finishing touches are being completed at the newly constructed Bain Elementary School in preparation for the start of school in August. The project, which cost more than $15 million and took about 18 months to complete was paid for with 2007 bond money.
The school was first slated only for upgrades, but approval for a new structure came once it was determined to be more cost effective to build from scratch. Construction began in early spring of 2012. nths to complete was paid for with 2007 bond money.
Principal John LeGrand has spent the summer organizing the move from the adjacent building and readying the school for the return of teachers on August 19.
“I have been addressing our instructional focus, of course, but I’ve been surprised how I’ve been pulled into dealing with lots of logistics this summer.”
While it is true the new school will be complete and ready, not so the bus parking lot, which at present is occupied by a playground. The bus lot will not be ready until January.
“We will have two drop off points again this year,” says LeGrand. “The buses will still come through and occupy the car lot.”
According to LeGrand, another issue is the row of mobile units still occupying the back part of the athletic field.
“The mobiles leave two or three at a time at night,” he says. “They are supposed to be out of here within the next week or two. Then we can re-seed the field.”
While one of the original buildings is currently being demolished, the front of the former school, the library, cafeteria, some classroom space and the gymnasium will be used as part of the Bain Early Learning Academy which will serve about 150 kindergarten students.
LeGrand is excited by this prospect of kindergarten students having their own space.
“This will be good for the younger kinds,” he says. “They will have their own space which will help them to transition into elementary school prior to joining our older students in the new building during the following year.”
LeGrand and his assistant principal Joyce Fullington will reside in the new building but will frequent the kindergarten building. Dean of Students Robin Lyles will be housed at the “Early Learning Academy” full time to serve the students and teachers there.
According to LeGrand, there will be seven kindergarten classes in the older building; however, some of the older students will make the trek across the parking lot to utilize some of the art, music, media and physical education spaces in the original school when more than one of these “specials” is scheduled at the same time in the new building.
Visitors to the new building will be struck immediately by the modern splashes of color in the floor tile and the open spaces. The gym, for example, has a rock climbing wall, and a movable wall that opens the space up to the cafeteria.
“In the old school, we could only seat about 250 people for a program, says LeGrand. “If we open up the wall in the gym, we can comfortably seat 800.”
Although the new school was modeled after River Gate Elementary near Carowinds, LeGrand was allowed to give his own spin to some portions of the project.
“I was allowed a little input, like some of the colors. I tried to stay true to our school colors which are black and red,” he says.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is in the works for the near future, and the public will be invited.
“I have put in the request to the Superintendent for the date I’d like, and so I am waiting now for a confirmation,” says LeGrand. “And when we get the date confirmed we want everyone to come out and take a look at our new school.”