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Construction on schedule

A construction crew works at the AES site Monday of the system’s new sixth grade wing Monday.

A construction crew works at the AES site Monday of the system’s new sixth grade wing Monday.

High school work will take longer

Construction is on track for the new sixth grade wing at Andalusia Elementary School, Superintendent Ted Watson said.

On Monday – and despite rain drizzles in the morning – construction crews were busy at work on the AES campus. Some 15 workers were seen doing various tasks.

Watson said what crews were actually doing was installing water lines.

“Right, now that’s what they’re in the middle of – installing water lines,” Watson said. “They’re working on the footings as well, and I’ve been told that next week, we’ll have a slab poured. That means we’ll soon see the building go vertical.”

Watson said the system will have architectural renderings of the building to share next week.

“That building is the smallest of the two,” Watson said of the project that will create a “sixth grade academy” at the elementary school and move the remaining junior high grades to a separate facility on the high school campus. Plans include relocating the central office operations to the current AMS campus. School officials predict that the move will save an estimated $500,000 in annual staff and operating costs.

“We think this is a good plan for a couple of reasons,” Watson said of the AES project. “First, it’s going to provide a way to lessen that anxiety that comes with moving to a new school,” he said. “They will be changing halls, just like they do now. By the time they get to the seventh grade, they’ll have their own wing (at AHS), so it will eliminate things that create that anxiety.”

Watson said the AES facility will be completed on time.

“That building is the smallest and will be completed before the other wing,” he said. “Most probably, we’ll be in that facility with ample time for teachers to look around and get organized for the school year.

“But at the high school, it looks like we’ll be cutting that one close since we’ve had some rain delays,” he said. “It will be a push, and in a meeting this week, the target date is the same, but we’re trying to be realistic. If we don’t get into it in the fall, we’ll figure out a plan.”