Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schedule Tight for Arlington School

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schedule Tight for Arlington School

Article excerpt

It's a tall order: Turn 20 acres of pine forest into a school

campus, complete with a new 120,000-square-foot brick

elementary, in 10 months.

Still, Duval County School Board officials are trying to do

just that with the planned Abess Road Elementary School in East

Arlington, a site that is now nothing more than rows of trees.

They want youngsters walking newly painted halls by the first

day of the 1997-98 academic year in August.

It's a tight time frame, one that can only be met if everything

goes smoothly, officials say.

"It can be done, believe me," said McGlade Holloway, assistant

superintendent for facilities.

But some School Board members said they aren't counting on the

$8.3 million school being ready for students in time for opening

day and don't want parents to get too excited about the idea.

"I have great concern about whether we will be able to open the

school in August," said board chairwoman Cheryl Donelan. "The

problem is even if the school is complete [on time], you've got

to get in there, you've got to set up.

"You kind of wonder if it's better to do it right and look at

mid-year than rush it and not have the school totally complete

and have chaos."

Abess Road Elementary School, with a 1,050-student capacity, is

slated to become the county's first new school since 1991, when

Andrew Robinson and Greenland Pines elementaries opened their

doors. The school is intended to help relieve the massive

overcrowding at Sabal Palm Elementary School and lessen some of

the burden at Alimacani Elementary School. It will be followed

by Chets Creek Elementary School on the Southside, which is

slated for a January 1998 opening.

The prototype for the schools sits in Seminole County, in a

town just outside Orlando. Constructing that building took 11

months from ground breaking to the day the school was occupied,

"a tight 11 months," said Chris Birkebak, project manager for

the Seminole County schools.

The contract for the Abess Road school officially begins

tomorrow -- just 10 months and one week before the tentative

start of school on Aug. …

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