In 2019 the Floyd County school system saw one big project completed and another beginning.
Facilities Manager Jack Gardner oversaw two big projects this year: the opening of the new Armuchee High School gym on Dec. 20 and the groundbreaking of what will be the new Pepperell Middle School.
According to Superintendent Jeff Wilson, the gym still has work to be completed near the front but the inside is completely done. There are meeting rooms that connect locker rooms filled with technology to review game footage.
“It’s just going to be a shared place for the community,” Wilson said.
The gym, which contains 1,400 seats, is one of the largest facilities at the high school at close to 32,000 square feet. It also has Wi-Fi, a state-of-the-art HVAC system, along with meeting rooms in the center of the locker rooms.
“We’re also excited about the opportunity for students to play in a facility that’s top notch, and to host some things that we hadn’t been able to host before because of the size (of the old gym),” Wilson said.
The gym took a little over one year to finish. The ground-breaking ceremony was held in November 2018 for the facility funded through the 1-cent education local option sales tax. The gym was estimated to cost around $10 million.
A few months after the gym’s groundbreaking ceremony, the Floyd County Schools board of education attended another groundbreaking ceremony — for Pepperell Middle School. Unlike the gym, however, the middle school hasn’t seen much progress. Wilson has attributed that to the weather.
“It’s been raining every three days,” he said.
“It’s hard to pull a building out of the mud,” Gardner said at the December school board meeting.
Wilson said there needs to be about five to six weeks of no rain to be able to make any sort of progress. He said he would rather wait until it’s dry to build than have an unsettled foundation because it’s wet outside.
Pepperell Middle School is a $20 million project according to the superintendent, and it also is funded through ELOST. Ultimately, he said, building a new school will be cheaper than attempting to renovate the old Pepperell Middle School.
“Every building has a life span and Pepperell had just reached the end of its life span,” Wilson said.
Originally, there was hope the school would be completed by December 2020, he said.
However, with continuously wet weather, he said, “that’s just not going to happen.” Wilson said they’ve pushed the expected opening back to spring 2021.