Architects unveil design for new JWES

Published 12:04 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This is how the new Jones-Wheat Elementary will look like, shown in an architectural rendering.

The design phase of the new Jones-Wheat Elementary School is well under way.

At last Thursday’s meeting of the Decatur County Board of Education, Walter Altman and Keith Barrett of Altman Barrett Architects, of Valdosta, Ga., presented an update of the design process.

Altman Barrett has a long time relationship with the Decatur County School System, also acting as the architect of West Bainbridge Elementary School and Bainbridge High School.

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Barrett indicated that once the preliminary school design is approved at the state level, the process would then move to bid solicitation.

“We hope to send the drawings out to bid in March and take bids in April,” Barrett told the board. “We then expect the demolition of the old school and construction of the new school to begin the first of June.”

In September, the board voted to use funds generated from E-SPLOST collections to fund construction of the new school on a five-year term. The new school will be built on the same physical site as the existing school and during the one-year construction time, Jones-Wheat students and teachers would use the former West Bainbridge Middle School campus on Dothan Road.

The current Jones-Wheat Elementary School.

The new school is scheduled to be open for students with the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.

The current Jones-Wheat school opened in 1954 and no longer meets current building requirements or codes.

Barrett estimated that the school would cost $11 million to construct. That estimate includes that demolition of the existing school, but does not include furnishing the new school. The school would have a capacity of 750 students in 98,000 square feet.

In addressing the security of the new school, Barrett indicated that a five-foot fence would be installed across the front of the school, transitioning to a taller fence along the back. Electronic gates that would be closed during school hours will be installed at all entrances.