The Walton County Board of Education is poised to approve a new construction project that will lead to major renovations and new construction at Bay Creek Elementary School.
Bay Creek, which was formerly Loganville Primary School before the school system phased out primary schools in favor of K-5 elementary schools, is one of the oldest remaining campuses in the Walton County School District, with its main building dating back to 1975.
The new plans would add a new wing for administrative offices and five new classroom spaces to serve as a new front entrance for BCES, switching the current front of the school to become the back of the campus.
“We’re really flipping the school,” Tom Gibson, the District 5 board member, said at Tuesday’s board work session while discussing the proposed project.
Nathan Franklin, superintendent of the school district, confirmed it was a long-cherished dream among many at BCES.
“People really wanted a new front without that ’70s warehouse feel,” Franklin said.
The school district bid out the construction project and is looking to approve the low bid of $12.1 million from Grahl Construction to begin construction on the new additions this spring, with the majority of the new construction to be done over the summer months. Further work will continue through the school year into 2021.
The total project is estimated to cost $13.5 million.
The current campus consists of the main building, built in 1975 and added onto the following year, as well as a gymnasium built in 2004 and an additional classroom wing built in 2008.
All of those buildings will remain part of the campus in the new plan, but the entire orientation of the school building will flip from west to east, as the main entrance to the school on Georgia 81 will become the back entrance, with the main traffic shifted to the current back entrance on Lee Byrd Road. That entrance will be widened and will lead to a newly constructed parking lot in front of the new front office building, as well as a large traffic circle to funnel the significant amount of car riders traffic expected morning and afternoon each day.
Buses will now enter and exit from the Highway 81 exit, and a new bus canopy will be built in front of the old front office space for students.
“This will fully separate cars and buses,” Assistant Superintendent Chip Underwood said.
The new front office space will add a security vestibule as seen at the other school buildings in the district, while the old administrative space will be converted into two additional classrooms. The cafeteria will be expanded as part of the construction and a new kitchen built onto the current space.
The current playground equipment will be shifted to the north end of campus to make room for the traffic circle and parking lot, while current open-air play areas within the building for special education students and pre-K students will be renovated thoroughly.
The project will also include new connecting hallways between the old and new building, sidewalks connecting everything to the gymnasium and a small courtyard between the two buildings.
The renovations will also include the usual work done at all previous renovated schools, including new roofing, HVAC equipment and other small improvements all over the current campus.
The board will vote on the BCES construction project and the contract with Grahl Construction on Tuesday at its monthly meeting.