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Meeting set on Harper Elementary construction

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Clayton County residents who live near Alfretta A. Harper Elementary School, in Riverdale, will get an opportunity tonight to find out what is going to happen during an upcoming construction project at the school.

Clayton County Public Schools officials have tentatively scheduled construction to begin in October on a 12-classroom addition at the school, which is located at 93 Valley Hill Road.

The meeting will begin tonight at 6 p.m., in the school's media center. The school district is required to hold a public meeting with community members before beginning any construction projects, based on Clayton County Board of Education Policy FEA. The purpose of the meeting is to notify residents who live within 250 feet of the construction site of the work to be done.

"It's an awareness meeting, not an input meeting," said Wesley Smith, the coordinating supervisor of construction for the school system's Construction Department. "We want the public to know what's going to happen, so they don't wake up one morning to find dump trucks and bulldozers running down the street."

Cephus Jackson, the chief operating officer for Clayton County Public Schools, said officials from the Construction Department, and representatives of the Austell-based architectural firm of Southern A & E, LLC, which designed the classroom addition, will be available to discuss the project at the meeting.

He also said illustrations of what the classroom addition will resemble, as well as a construction timeline, will be made available to people who attend the meeting. Jackson said this will be the only meeting the school system holds to make residents aware of the construction project at the school.

The classroom addition, which will be built at the back of the existing school building, will relieve overcrowding, Jackson said. Harper Elementary School opened in 2002, and has 45 classrooms, according to the school system's web site.

The school currently uses six modular classrooms because of overcrowding, Jackson said. "After this classroom addition is built, we'll be able to get rid of all of the modular classrooms at the school," he said. Construction is scheduled to be completed in June 2010, he added.

Construction of the addition is pending board approval of Carrollton-based J & R Construction and Development's $1.79 million bid for project. The firm was the lowest bidder for the project, Jackson told school board members at a work session on Monday. The board is scheduled to vote on approval of the bid at its business meeting Sept. 14.

For more information about tonight's construction project meeting, call Clayton County Public Schools Construction Department Administrative Assistant Nina Johnstone at (770) 473-2825.