Construction of two Columbia County replacement schools remains on track and both should be ready to open by the start of the 2013 school year.
Earlier this year, site work for the new Evans Elementary School started on a 15-acre parcel on Gibbs Road near the current school’s location.
The new school will have 51 classrooms, said schools Superintendent Charles Nagle.
“We are building it a little larger than most of our elementary schools that we have in the past, because of growth and to accommodate growth,” Nagle said.
The property was purchased in May 2011 for $600,000, and the entire project is expected to cost about $12.5 million.
The building will be the county’s first two-story elementary school in the modern era, Nagle said.
The school system is also using underground retention areas on the site for the first time.
“That’s kind of a new feature for us so that we didn’t have to purchase as much land,” Nagle said.
The new Columbia Middle School, being built next to Grovetown High School on William Few Parkway, also is designed as a two-story building.
“Columbia Middle School will be (similar to) Stallings Island (Middle),” the county’s only current two-story school, said Nagle.
The school board purchased the property for about $1.1 million in October, and the school is expected to cost $20 million when finished.
Funding for the schools comes from a 1-percent sales tax package voters approved in 2011 for a long-term plan to replace several aging county schools.
Public hearings to announce next year’s new school zones should be held at least by October, Nagle said.
Demolition of the current Martinez Elementary School on Flowing Wells Road is expected to begin in summer 2013. The school’s replacement will be rebuilt for an estimated $12.5 million on the same site.
“We’re hoping to be able to build that school in a year, so that we can open in fall of 2014,” Nagle said.
School officials agreed in June to buy 26 acres on William Few Parkway, near Windmill Plantation, for a new North Columbia Elementary School. The cost was $584,000.
The school, which has only about 300 students, is currently located on Ray Owens Road in Appling.
The school also would relieve Greenbrier Elementary of some of its pupil population, Nagle said.
Work on the school would likely not start before 2015.
“That would be the absolute earliest,” Nagle said. “That would be a very optimistic timeline.”