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Bibb school leaders get up-close view of new Veterans Elementary site

Jason Daniel, left, Bibb County school district director of capital programs speaks with board member Vice President Jason Downey while leading a tour of the new Veterans Elementary Friday.
Jason Daniel, left, Bibb County school district director of capital programs speaks with board member Vice President Jason Downey while leading a tour of the new Veterans Elementary Friday. jvorhees@macon.com

School board members and district officials got a look Friday at what will be Bibb County's newest school, Veterans Elementary.

The school, located on Faubus Avenue in west Macon, will consolidate Barden and Morgan elementary schools. School board President Lester Miller said it would be a "state-of-the-art facility" for the children who will move there this August.

"They're going to be very excited," he said. "It's something to be proud of."

The 109,000-square-foot facility will cost the district about $16.7 million, drawn from education sales tax funding. While the project has a way to go -- with most of the common areas and hallways still largely unfinished -- the building will be ready well before school starts back Aug. 1. Projected enrollment is 500 to 600 students.

"Printed on the schedule is May 17," said Jason Daniel, the school district's director of capital programs. "These guys have always been good."

Gene Dunwody and Robert Beeland were the architects for the building, and they joined the tour to answer questions about the building's design, which has several distinctive features. That includes skylights on the second floor of the two-story classroom wings as well as slanted ceilings in the classrooms for acoustical purposes.

Also, window arrangements were set up with natural lighting and glare reduction in mind.

"It has a lot of special effects," Beeland said.

Another feature is a floor cutout between the upper and lower stories of the school's front building. The cutout runs most of the length of the main hallway behind the front entrance and will include a 42-inch barrier on the top side to ensure student safety.

The opening will add to a "nice learning environment" and will prevent students in the lower hallway from feeling boxed in.

"It opens up that bottom corridor to the second floor so you don't have a confined feeling," Beeland said.

Each of the school's 46 classrooms will be equipped with interactive board technology and storage areas. The school will also have a 5,000-square-foot gymnasium and a cafetorium with space to seat about 200 students for meals at a time.

After seeing the school, with its two-wing layout and brightly colored accents, board Vice President Jason Downey said it made him even more enthusiastic about future plans, which include a new Northeast High School and Appling Middle School campus in east Macon.

"It gets you excited about the new ESPLOST that's coming and the projects we have," he said.

To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331 or find him on Twitter@MTJTimm.

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