PES principal says new school will be safer
by By John Conley firstname.lastname@example.org
With a move to a new building just three months away, Pineville Elementary School Principal Donald Clay is eager to occupy the new structure.
“It’s going to be really impressive,” Clay commented. “Everybody is really excited about it.”
The new PES will be safer as well as modern, he noted.
“That building will be much more secure,” Clay observed. The number of doors to the outside will be considerably reduced, he pointed out.
“There is one long hallway (in the new school), and I can see from one end of the hall to the other,” said Clay. “At one time (the plan) had a bend it, but I said I didn’t want a bend there, I wanted to be able to see. If there’s a problem, I can see it and that is a lot safer.
“A huge safety thing is the buses will be loading and unloading between the Middle School and us,” he added. “It will keep the kids away from the highway, and it will keep the Middle School kids away from the high way also.”
Clay said each room at the new PES has two windows. “They are smaller and a lot less easily accessed from the outside,” he explained.
An air conditioned gymnasium will be another plus. “”At the beginning and end of the year (in the old school) in the gym, it’s just awful,” stated Clay. Design elements include sky lights and ceramic tiles in primary colors in the hallway. Columns in front will look like crayons.
Clay and a committee of PES staff, parents and others all had input on the school’s layout and look.
“We really enjoyed that,” Clay remarked. “We had an interior designer who came in with options (to choose from), color of the floor tiles, color of the walls. The (members of the committee) enjoyed that. They have a stake in it.”
The design element which caused the most discussion is the Minuteman, which will be on the front of the building.
“We have probably spent more time discussing that than anything,” Clay commented. “At first we wanted cast stone panels to stick out in relief, but we couldn’t find a sub-contractor.”
The Minuteman will be made of aluminum and have a spotlight on it at night.
“It’s going to look really nice, and there will be an outline of the state with the Minuteman,” said Clay.
He commented that the most surprising aspect of the process was “how detailed everything is. Every process has to be signed off on by three or four people.
“There are a lot of hoops to jump through,” he said. “But at the end, it makes a better product.”
Still in the works is a playground. A little over $5,000 has been raised of the $33,000 needed for a section, Clay reported. The area’s legislators are working to acquire more funds.
Space could also be an issue. Although the alternates for the school include two additional classrooms, PES has seen its enrollment grow for the last two years.
“We have 105 kindergarten students—five full rooms,” Clay noted. “We’ve never had that many since I’ve been here. The last two years we’ve been really growing.”
Clay is a regular visitor to the construction site.
“My wife says we have to go over there every day before we go home,” he reported.
“We hope teachers can start moving stuff during the month of December, and then have the big move during Christmas break,” Clay stated.
“(Once we move in) the stress level of worrying will be gone, and we’ll be really excited to be in a new building,” he remarked. “I think the kids will be much happier.”
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