After months of planning and renovations, all Iron Station Elementary students will now be in the same building, thanks to the construction of a new wing at the local school that wrapped up recently.
Six full-scale classrooms, work and resource rooms and restrooms were added to replace six mobile units — which Principal Audrey Benton hopes will ensure a safer learning environment for her students.
Gettys estimates nine months and about $1.2 million to make these changes happen, an investment that has put Benton and Gettys more at ease with children not having to walk between buildings to go to class and other safety issues that were previously concerns. Gettys mentioned having problems in the past with leaks, storm hazards and other dangers that portable units pose rather than having students inside of a permanent structure.
Iron Station, a school that Executive Director of Facilities Darrell Gettys believes hasn’t seen major renovations since it was built in 1990, is one of the last remaining projects of the $44.6 million bond that was issued for school construction; the elementary institution was added to the list after a noticeable amount of increased student enrollment a few years ago.
The Times-News previously reported that prior to the construction, Iron Station was reaching its full capacity of students. Because of the increase in the number of students attending, an additional kindergarten class was added this school year, Superintendent Sherry Hoyle noted, which now is located in the new wing, along with the classes that were previously in the mobile units outside of the school building.
The new classrooms are comparably larger to older classrooms, Benton said, and also have restrooms inside each of them as well. While there’s more space and the ability to fit more students into the areas, the same tools are found in the new wing, such as Smart Boards and other learning tools that the other classrooms also have.
So far, parents, students and faculty members love the changes.
Thursday at an Iron Station P.T.A. meeting, a few members of the Board of Education, the project architects, Benton and the P.T.A. president spoke about the construction at a dedication ceremony.
“We wanted to make it available for everyone, so they could go and see the completed process and how it’s being used,” Hoyle told the Times-News on Thursday.
Local officials are hoping for feedback, and may consider options that are brought to their attention; these points may be incorporated into future projects, Gettys said.
Another project wrapped up this school year at Iron Station is the sewer pump system, now being operated by the county. Older bathrooms on campus now have new, ceramic floors and lighting fixture lenses were replaced, too. Gettys is considering repaving the school’s parking lot later, after “all costs are reconciled.”
Benton, Hoyle and Gettys all parallel the project to the mission statement of the Lincoln County school system, which entails providing a quality, safe place for students to learn; the two officials believe they have done just that.
“This school is a source of pride for the community; it’s a community school,” Benton said. “I think parents appreciate the lengths we go to make sure their children are in a safe environment. There’s a lot of pride here.”