Several district schools getting upgrades

Although they are often overshadowed by personnel changes and pressing student-performance issues during school board meetings, there are several structural changes and upgrades to district schools and facilities, either under way or near completion.

Cephus Jackson, chief of operations for the Clayton County School System, said plans are already in the works to renovate several schools, and it’s carrying a very hefty price tag.

During his presentation to school board members at Monday night’s board of education meeting, he updated them on the renovations/upgrades that had already begun, which will cost the district $2.7 million to complete before school resumes in August.

Those include: Babb Middle School, $405,565; Lovejoy Middle, $119,503; New Riverdale Elementary School, $1,258,757; Northcutt Elementary $610,009; Hendrix Drive, $12,737; Performing Arts Center, $200,259; and Church Street Elementary, $93,966.

Jackson told board members that some of the upgrades will include putting in new air- conditioning units in all the schools’ gymnasiums, updating the parking lots, replacing lockers, replacing the roofs, and renovating the boys and girls restrooms.

The biggest construction expense for the district is the new elementary school building being built for Riverdale Elementary. The new school building, expected to open in January 2013, will cost the district an estimated $17 million, he said. It will be located off Garden Walk Boulevard.

Board Member Trinia Garrett said her concern was whether all the construction projects would be completed before students returned to school in August, without cutting corners on safety. Jackson assured board members that all proper safety precautions were taken and the projects will be completed before students and teachers return to school on Aug. 3.