Warren County Public Schools is moving ahead with a $20 million project to replace Cumberland Trace Elementary School, a 1960s-era building that one administrator said the district has outgrown.
The school district is working with excavation contractor Holland to handle early earth work on the 23-acre site about 11/2 miles north of the current Cumberland Trace Elementary School on Cumberland Trace Road.
The project, which is expected to take 15 to 18 months to complete, comes at a time when the district is seeing hundreds of housing units under development in southern Warren County.
“Between Cumberland Trace, Plano and Alvaton, there’s something like 1,900 units in some phase of construction, either plotted, under construction or construction waiting for sale,” said Chris McIntyre, WCPS’ chief financial officer, referring to planning and zoning data.
On top of that growth, students and teachers at Cumberland Trace Elementary are working in a building that feels increasingly dated, McIntyre said.
In the 1960s, the school was built with an open concept, “pod” design that required the district to add walls to separate classrooms. That left a lot of classrooms without natural light, which McIntyre said helps promote learning.
“The new building will erase all those issues and also accommodate another 150, 200 students,” McIntyre said, referring to the district’s goal to build a school that can accommodate 750 students.
Before the district can make that happen, however, it needs to lay the groundwork. The district is paying Holland about $800,000 for the early site work to develop a building pad for later construction, McIntyre said.
“The work that will be done this summer will predominantly be earth work,” he said.
As for the old school, the district is considering using it as a space for its food service and other administrative units. McIntyre said its spacious gymnasium could be helpful for larger school board meetings.
The district hopes to start construction of the new school this fall, McIntyre said. “We hope to be pouring footers and start seeing the building come up out of the ground,” he said.
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