DeKalb County Schools Project Manager John Jambro said everything is going according to plan with the 50-classroom, 1,600-student capacity structure funded by the special purpose local option sales tax.
“The total project is approximately 50 percent complete, moving at a steady pace and currently on schedule,” he said, including a “substantial completion” date of Sept. 2.
Its environmental footprint includes a number of green features, Jambro said, like a white membrane roof to reduce the amount of air conditioning needed in summer.
“The academic wing includes the use of glass curtain wall systems that provide natural light into the building,” he said, about another electricity conservation measure.
When that part of the campus —considered Phase I — is complete, the current high school classroom building will be demolished to make way for athletic practice fields.
Phase II, a 105,000-square-foot arts and sports annex, will be ready July 4, 2014.
“It includes an indoor pool and track, with spaces for music, drama and health classes,” Jambro said.
The school district, Turner Construction Co., URS Corp. and Perkins+Will Architecture held a topping-out ceremony Feb. 22, during which officials put their signatures on the 174,000-square-foot building’s final steel beam.
Jambro said they display unity in other ways.
“The construction and design teams are working very well with the district,” he said.
Students are not the only beneficiaries of their mutual undertaking, Jambro said.
“This project is employing hundreds of construction workers and providing jobs for many people here in DeKalb County,” he said.
At the topping-out ceremony, Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond agreed.
“I had a flashback to my days as labor commissioner and I remember three years ago when construction was struggling so hard and we were losing tens of thousands of jobs,” he said. “I am happy to see you men and women in construction on the job, making good money, supporting yourselves and your families.”
Thurmond also said he was happy with the contractors’ ability to overcome challenges in building “one the most innovative and advanced high schools” in the county, state and the U.S.
“This time last year we were stuck in a bureaucratic quagmire of red tape, confusion and indecision,” he said.