School is out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean work will stop for construction crews building new facilities for students to use when they come back in August.
The city and county school systems have projects both wrapping up, and beginning this year using collected funds from the education local option sales tax.
Main Elementary will be move-in ready by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year Lou Byars, superintendent of Rome City Schools said. The major work on the outside of the historic school has been completed and workers have moved inside to finish the interior of the facility.
Teachers will begin moving their classrooms from North Heights Elementary to Main over the summer after construction is complete, Byars said. The North Heights building was planned to become to system’s Sixth Grade Academy, which would have made room in the systems elementary schools.
The last discussion by the board of education was to put the academy on hold until it had straightened out their transportation issue. The system has currently been approved to purchase 35 new school buses to use and is looking at storage options.
Main Elementary still has around $5 million left to pay but that amount is broken up in bills received every month and the ELOST IV funds will cover those payments, Byars told the board at their weekend retreat earlier in April.
The only remaining part of the old Main Elementary building will be the section housing the kitchen, since it was remodeled before demolition. The construction manager at-risk for the project is Carrollton-based J&R Construction, who will also handle the building of the future College and Career Academy, which has broken ground behind Rome High School. That project is scheduled to be ready by the 2020-2021 school year, according to Byars.
“I know it is aggressive, but we want to have it done,” Byars told the City of Rome Finance Committee earlier this month. The estimated cost of the elementary school is between $13-$14 million.
The Rome College and Career Academy will house the high school’s Career, Technology and Agricultural Education pathways. The new building will include workshops, science labs, locker rooms, showers and even a firing range for the JROTC students.
Rome City Schools is selling bonds from the Rome Building Authority to put up the funds for the project which has an estimated cost of around $23.7 million. The price of construction materials has risen, Byars said, making selling the bonds necessary to avoid delaying the project. It would take four to five years to save up the funds before work could begin he said. The bonds will be paid back as the ELOST V money comes in. The collection period for those funds started April 1.