Anyone who’s driven down Duvall Highway in the last year has caught glimpses of High Point Elementary School’s ongoing construction project.
But very few have seen what’s on the inside.
This upcoming school year, High Point will unveil its new two-story instructional wing, complete with 28 new classrooms.
“We’ve had open space here since the school was built and fully occupied in 1975,” said High Point Elementary School Principal Timothy Merritt. “To have a learning environment that has four walls, the latest technology, natural lighting from the sunlight is just a huge, huge improvement to an instructional setting.”
The windows on the new addition are made of double-paned glass to help with temperature control, ultraviolet filtering and for enhanced security. Those inside can see outside perfectly, but no one from the outside can see in.
In addition to the classrooms, there will also be a new gym/cafeteria, kitchen and two new music rooms. The gymnasium, complete with hardwood floors and six basketball hoops, won’t be open on the first day of school and will open later in September.
The first day of school for High Point students is September 5, a day later than the other schools to accommodate the ongoing construction.
All teachers in the county return to school on August 23, and the High Point teachers will be able to move into their new classrooms and start unpacking by then, Merritt said. The new instructional wing will be available for students and parents to see at the school’s meet-and-greet on August 30.
“It’s going to be a real, real uplifting environment for children,” Merritt said. “It’s going to be exciting.”
Construction will continue through the school year, and the entire project is set to be finished next spring. During this school year, the before-and-after-care room and administration wing will finish up around spring break.
The media center, early childhood wing, parking lot and bus loop will be completed in summer 2019.
“In the end, the kids will be the ones to experience the benefit and a much-improved schoolhouse,” Merritt said.
Solley Elementary Adds Classrooms, Sidewalks
In early August, Solley Elementary started construction on six new classrooms. The classrooms are not yet assigned to teachers or grade levels, and construction will continue through the school year.
While these classrooms are under construction, fifth-graders are in temporary, portable classrooms.
Construction won’t affect the school day, said Solley Elementary Principal Jeffrey Haynie.
“We have a really good working relationship with the companies that come out and do these projects,” Haynie said. “They’re well aware of the most important need, which is the students’ education and student safety. They’re really nice people to work with.”
In addition to the classrooms, Solley is adding a vestibule to the front foyer and sidewalks around the school.
Construction on the vestibule is scheduled to start at the end of October. Once complete, it will add an extra layer of security to the school. Guests will have to buzz into the main entrance and then again into the main office. New walls will prevent guests from walking down either hallway instead of going to the main office.
With the addition of sidewalks around the school, students will be able to walk instead of riding the bus, for the first time in the school’s history. Teachers will be stationed at each crosswalk to ensure the students’ safety.
“It’s exciting for our community, and it’s exciting for our staff and our students,” Haynie said.