City Public Works crews have begun the process of tearing down properties, many of them dilapidated and vacant for years. The school will be built on approximately nine acres at the corner of South Broad and East Main streets.
Click to see a planned footprint of the new school.
Rome City School Superintendent Gayland Cooper is holding hope that demolition can be completed by the end of August, site preparation completed by mid-October and actual construction under way immediately thereafter.
Demolition work started on the east end of the property because the condemnation of a couple of parcels on the west side of the property, including the old Triangle Grocery building, has not been completed.
Public Works crews will work overtime and on weekends to demolish the properties, and the school board will reimburse the city for their time.
Cooper said he is still hopeful the new building will be ready for students in August 2013.
“With Godspeed, hopefully we’ll be able to get all these properties in line and all the civil work done so that we can get the footprint down,” Cooper said.
“We’ve got a nice-looking building and plans ready,” Cooper said. “It’s going to be a spectacular place of learning.”
The new school will include approximately 40 classrooms, plenty of space for upward of 600 children. Currently, about 430 students from the old Anna K. Davie and Southeast Elementary schools are in classes on the Southeast campus.
The new building will also include classrooms for 3-year-olds and an adult education classroom that will be operated as a joint venture with the South Rome Redevelopment Corporation and Berry College.
Cooper estimated the price tag for the project at close to $12 million. The figure includes about $2 million for property acquisition, $8 million for the classroom building and another $2 million for a gymnasium on the site.
The old Anna K. Davie was demolished more than a year ago. Cooper said once the new building comes on line, the school system would turn over the Southeast Elementary building to the city of Rome.
“It could be used partially by one of the colleges that may need overflow space. It might go to the housing authority for needs there, or perhaps a visionary person might make that a residential building of some sort,” Cooper said. “We renovated the building about five years ago so it’s in good shape.”