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Construction of John Adams Elementary progressing on schedule

Wes Bunch • Nov 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Construction of Kingsport’s newest school, John Adams Elementary, is progressing on — if not ahead of — schedule.

The $17 million project, which began almost a year ago, is expected to be finished in either May or June.

“Things are on schedule,” said Duaine Arnold, principal of the new school. “It looks like we’re in the window of when they said we would be able to finish and occupy, so everything looks good.

“If you’re familiar with the floor plan at all, you can determine the areas and walk through and see where everything is going to be.”

The building is mostly under roof right now, asphalt has been poured, and crews hope to begin painting and installing windows within the next two weeks, said Arnold.

The two-story structure was designed with input from various groups of teachers and members of the community, Arnold said, resulting in a “student-friendly” campus.

It was also designed to grow with the student population and changes in teaching techniques.

Classrooms will be grouped together by grades in a semi-open format. Rooms will be separated by operable walls, allowing teachers to combine classrooms in different ways.

“The spaces are very flexible,” he said. “So as we add students, or as we grow and change throughout the years, the building does accommodate in that way.”

Arnold said he hopes that space will also be used by members of the community.

“It’s a very community-oriented space in that there is a full-size gym,” he said. “We hope to let the community use that gym and the facilities to share the space.

“We’re just hoping it’s a place where the students, and the community, can learn and grow.”

The new building will feature wireless Internet as well as several green building techniques like the use of geothermal energy and bricks that don’t have to be repainted.

A cafetorium — a combination of a cafeteria and auditorium — is also being built. It will share a stage with the school’s music room, located behind risers at the back of the stage.

The school will also feature two pre-kindergarten classrooms.

Arnold said he hopes to order furniture, playground equipment and other supplies for the school in March and have them in place in May.

He also hopes to begin setting up a PTA at the turn of the year and have a pickup system and traffic patterns in place by early spring.

Members of the Kingsport Board of Education and Board of Mayor and Aldermen visited the campus Thursday to check on its progress.

Both groups said they were happy with the strides made so far in its construction.

“I was very pleased with the progress,” City Manager John Campbell said. “They’re at that stage over the last month where you start to see a lot of progress when they start putting the roof on, and a lot of the masonry work is finished. It’s coming along real nicely.”

BOE President Susan Lodal said she was also impressed with how the school’s design was coming together.

“I think they’re looking at the needs of students today and the way students are being taught, and this is addressing those needs,” she said.

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