The Chatham County Board of Education and the Chatham County Board of Commissioners participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new middle school that will be located in the Briar Chapel development in northeastern Chatham County on Thursday morning, January 29.
Robert Logan, Superintendent of Schools, led the ceremony. Comments were made by Kathie Russell, Board of Education Chair; George Lucier, Chair of the Board of Commissioners; Keith Hurand, Sr. Vice President, Division Manager Carolinas, Newland Communities; and Robbie Farris, President and CEO of SFL+a Architects.
In his remarks Farris commented on the visionary leadership of the county for its commitment in moving forward with the construction of the middle school in spite of the economic situation. Farris also complimented both boards on their commitment to energy efficiency in the building.
The school will be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building. With a focus on energy efficiency, it will also be part of ENERGY STAR, a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Features of the school will include twenty-first century technology, twenty-seven classrooms, two science labs, an arts wing, and athletic facilities.
The school is being built to ease overcrowding in current schools in the district. The sixth, seventh and eighth grades at Perry Harrison School and North Chatham School will be moved to the new school. Those schools currently serve kindergarten through eighth grade. The school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010 and will have space for 650 students that can expand to accommodate 800 students. Harrison and North Chatham will become traditional elementary schools when the new middle school is complete.
The land for the campus was donated by Briar Chapel by Newland Communities, a budding 2,400-unit development off Highway 15-501 north of Pittsboro. The school will be located off Andrews Store Road. In addition to the energy efficient aspects of the building, cost-efficiency of the project is a priority.