With doors set to open for students in August, construction on the new Glenn R. Marshall Elementary School on the Robert R. Martin Bypass is still ahead of schedule.

The school will have a 600-student capacity, but will open with about 450 kids to avoid overcrowding and retain the possibility of future growth.

“We’re about 10 days ahead of schedule,” said Madison County Schools Superintendent Mike Caudill. “Ten days might not seem like a lot, but it’s a huge amount for the size of the crew. We feel very good about it. We have no indication whatsoever that the (construction) will hold up the start of school. As long as the weather holds out, this school will be ready to open when schools start.”

D.W. Wilburn of Lexington began construction in March 2005 and with a lot of the exterior complete, work is well under way on the interior and surrounding features.

Driving up to the school’s site, the groundwork for a 400-meter track around a soccer field can be seen near towering lights installed for a future tennis court.

Two already constructed smaller buildings between where bleachers will be put will be used for concessions, a locker room and restrooms.

The parking lot will feature about 100-120 parking spaces — a number that may be adjusted when a planned middle school is built on the site in the next few years.

A chainlink fence also will be placed between the school and the bypass as a safety precaution, Caudill said.

“I think the location of the school is a positive thing for a lot of reasons.” he said. “It’s good that we have a road that lets us come in off of the bypass so we don’t have to worry about stop and go traffic.”

A parent pickup and bus loop is stationed outside of the school’s front entrance with a covered walkway to help keep students out of any potential inclement weather.

The design of the new building, featuring pods of four classrooms, is identical to relatively new Kingston Elementary.

Once inside, visitors must go into the main office to check in before being buzzed into the school’s central hallway, which is decorated with a blue, yellow and red color scheme and leads into the cafeteria and grease-free kitchen area.

Going through a door outside of the cafeteria leads to an outside area where picnic tables could be placed in view of the preschool and elementary playground, which has a walking track around it.

The gymnasium, which should be complete when classes begin, features a high school-sized basketball court, retractable bleachers and a stage.

Other schools, along with church groups and other organizations, also will be able to use the gym, Caudill said.

The library connects to an outside amphitheater area decorated with several plants and steps for students to sit.

“It’s a great place to bring reading groups,” Caudill said. “It also goes right into the (classroom) pods.”

Even with plenty of work still to be done inside the building, including painting, putting tiling down and preparing the classrooms for teachers, Caudill said things have gone smoothly primarily because of the weather workers have experienced.

Only about one day of construction has had to be canceled for inclement weather during the Marshall Elementary construction, he said.

Furniture will be installed in the school about the first week of August with teachers moving in shortly after.

An open house also will be scheduled for parents and students before classes start and a dedication of the school will be conducted in the fall.

“It’s just a very beautiful site,” Caudill said. “It kind of sits up on a hill and it adds to the bypass. When you come in and get off the interstate, it’s nice to see a 2006 school sitting there.”

Bryan Marshall can be reached at bmarshall@richmondregister.com or 624-6691.

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