Construction to continue during school year at Dumbarton Elementary

By Laura Geller - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Students at Dumbarton Elementary School can expect to see some big changes when the new school year roles around.

Construction crews are using federal stimulus dollars to make major improvements.

It's a $2.7 million project, part of which will be finished when that first bell rings. But here's the thing -- most of the work won't be finished until the 2011 school year.

With a facility that's also a construction zone, we wanted to know what you can expect to see and how the administration plans to keep students safe.

Judy Craft's 6 year old daughter is ready to start first grade at Dumbarton Elementary.

"First grade is a big step up from kindergarten. It's a little different so she's a little nervous but she's excited too," she said.

But some alarms sounded for Craft when she drove past the school and saw an active construction zone. As we first reported in June, the school is using one-time stimulus dollars to build six new classrooms, a new bus loop, student drop off area and weather canopies.

"I hope that they have it done before school starts," she said.

Craft's hope, though, won't be realized. So, Henrico Public Schools is working with contractor Southwood Builders on a safety plan.

This is Don Evans' 10th school project.

"We're pretty well used to working around kids," he said.

The main precaution is a safety fence blocking off the construction zone and when all is said and done and school is back in session, this fence will wrap around the entire area.

"We'll be out here every day, walking, watching the kids and making sure they don't come over where we're at, around equipment," Evans said.

The new bus loop, which will be ready when students return, is staged right alongside bulldozers and cement mixers. Principal Eileen Traveline has a game plan for when students arrive.

"They'll come up this sidewalk. They'll be an adult supervising this door," Traveline said. "The office is right down there and then they'll go to their designated location."

Traveline says the minor hassle will be worth it.

"I just think it's going to be so much better for our parents and community when they come to visit," Traveline said.

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