Students working while they wait

The first time students will use a new Indian Creek school building will be fall 2016, but students will see the school become a reality day after day over the next two years.

The new elementary school will be connected to the existing Indian Creek Intermediate School, with the two buildings attached by only a hallway. The two schools will share cafeteria space, but the current cafeteria will be expanded by 2,500 square feet to fit the additional students, Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson Superintendent Tim Edsell said.

Construction on the $10 million addition to the intermediate school is slated to start as soon as this month, depending on the weather, Edsell said.

With the creation of the new elementary school building, all of Indian Creek’s schools will be on the same campus and near each other, Edsell said. But officials also have thought about that when planning the construction project.

The current 395 intermediate school students should expect to hear construction noise for the next two years, Edsell said.

The bulk of the framework of the new wing will be completed this summer, including the walls and roof. So once students return to school in August, the majority of construction will be happening inside the new addition, he said.

And since the new wing is going on the west side of the intermediate school, the rooms that will be affected the most will be the art room and cafeteria, not the classrooms where students spend the majority of their time, Edsell said.

The construction also will not change the traffic flow for parent pickup and drop-off for the third- through fifth-grade students, he said.

More than 400 students will move into 20 classrooms in the new wing for kindergarten, first-grade, second-grade and special education classes.

Six classrooms each will be designated for kindergarten, first grade and second grade, which will leave more than enough space for more students in the future, Edsell said.

Each grade will have its own section of the building. Two prekindergarten classrooms and the six kindergarten classrooms, with 1,200 square feet in each room, will be on the west side of the building, next to a kindergarten-specific playground.

The first-grade students will be in the south wing of the building with slightly smaller rooms of 900 square feet each. The second-grade classrooms will be closest to the intermediate school, separated by the hallway that connects the two buildings.

All of the elementary students will use the expanded cafeteria in the intermediate school for lunch, but kindergarten through second-grade students will have their own seating area and lunch line, separate from the third- through fifth-grade students, Edsell said.

A new media center, library, art room and music room are all located near the center of the school building.

One of the biggest needs for a new building was so students could use updated technology. In the current school, Internet connection isn’t consistent, and many of the rooms don’t have the capability to install newer technology, such as projectors or interactive computer screens.

“With our current system, you just never know if (the Internet is) up or down each day,” Indian Creek Elementary Principal Keith Grant said.

After working for more than 20 years at Indian Creek Elementary, Grant saw the first shovel of dirt moved this week to build a brand-new building for his students.

“It’s very exciting for everyone involved,” Grant said.

“There’s a lot of memories there (in the old building), but this is something very special for students, the community and all the teachers. And I’ll actually have an office that will fit more than two people in.”

Parent Kelly Neal said the new building is needed for multiple reasons, including space for special education and technology needs.

“That building has completed its life. It’s a wonderful building, we all love it, but they really needed (a new building) to facilitate education that our society demands,” Neal said.

At a glance

Certain classrooms in the existing Indian Creek Elementary School date back to 1939, and now the school district is building a new wing for kindergarten through second-grade students by the 2016-2017 school year. Here are some details about the new building:

54,000 square feet: The size of the elementary addition

2,500 square feet: Size added to existing cafeteria to create kindergarten through second-grade lunch area

420: Number of students who will use new building

20: Number of new classrooms

2: Number of special education classrooms