Construction to start on new classrooms

By Laura Geller - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – At a time when many school systems are cutting back, Henrico County is doing just the opposite. In fact, one school, Dumbarton Elementary, will soon get a major upgrade, thanks to federal stimulus dollars.

In just two weeks, you'll see construction equipment at the school. Those crews are working on six new classrooms, a new bus loop, student drop off area, weather canopies and fire safety improvements. The project is set to be complete by the start of the 2011 school year.

Tom Evans with Southwood Builders, the general contractor on the addition, showed NBC12 the blueprints Tuesday.

"We'll be putting on a classroom addition, which is 6 classrooms for kindergarten, a clinic and some administrative space," he said. "The parent drop off loop, which is kind of limited now, will have its own area to drop off kids and pick them up."

Tonda Wilson's son Hajj is a fifth grader at Dumbarton. She told us the improvements will make a world of difference.

"At the last minute, a lot of the parents for kind of late reasons, they get jam packed in there," she explained. "So it can be somewhat dangerous."

Some of this work will be completed quite quickly. Come this fall, the grassy area in front of the school entrance will be transformed into the new and improved bus loop.

The Henrico School Board approved using $2.7M in onetime federal stimulus funds to pay for the additions.

"When you get up and work every day and you know that your kids have to be taken care of by someone other than yourself, at least the environment is good," said Wilson. "So if that's where the money is going, that's a good thing."

Some of this work will be going on while class is in session.  Tom Evans said not to worry, the equipment will be staged outside the current building and temporary fencing will prevent any of the kids from entering the construction zone.

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