Site preparation is under way for one Columbia County replacement school and work is scheduled to start this month on another.
Crews recently started clearing a 15-acre site on Gibbs Road for a two-story, 51-classroom Evans Elementary School.
The school board purchased the site, on the other side of the Walnut Hill neighborhood from the current school site, last May for $600,000.
The $12.5 million replacement school is part of a $118 million 1-percent sales tax package voters approved last year.
Also included in that package is the construction of a new Columbia Middle School.
Site work on that project is scheduled to get under way this month, schools Superintendent Charles Nagle said.
The board spent about $1.1 million in October to purchase six land parcels on William Few Parkway near Grovetown High School as the site of the new Columbia Middle.
The estimated cost of the project is $20 million.
Once those schools open in August 2013, work likely will start on a new Martinez Elementary.
Unlike the other schools, Martinez Elementary will be rebuilt at its current site.
Nagle said pupils zoned for Martinez Elementary will temporarily move to Bel Air Elementary.
Construction crews then will raze the current school and build a larger school costing about $12.5 million in its place.
Once the new Martinez Elementary opens in August 2014, pupils at Bel Air Elementary will be rezoned for Martinez and Evans elementary schools.
School officials intend to close Bel Air Elementary, but don’t know yet what will become of that property, which is located on a commercial corridor along North Belair Road.
Though an area arts group recently expressed interested in obtaining a small piece of the Bel Air Elementary property, Nagle said nothing is yet set.
“It will not be likely that the Columbia County school system would determine doing anything with the property before 2015,” he said. “There are too many questions to ask and too many things to think about before deciding what to do right now.”