Every time you look at Poole’s Mill, Forsyth County’s next elementary school currently under construction on Heardsville Road at the county’s northern edge, it seems to grow larger and closer to completion.
In about six months, school system Director of Construction Tom Wening says that construction crews from Carroll Daniel Construction have made incredible progress on the new school, which is slated to open August of 2020.
On Tuesday, Wening and representatives from Carroll Daniel Construction gave the Forsyth County News an exclusive inside look at the new school, highlighting the unique character elements that have been baked into the school’s construction meant to honor the history and namesake of the Poole’s Mill area.
"Most of our schools have more of the traditional red brick, but the brown and darker tones go with the wood of the Poole's Mill,” Wening said, pointing out a row of brick and stone samples on display. “We tried to make that heritage a part of the living breathing space."
Design mockups of the finished school show an expansive entryway with a latticed metal design and a prominent wheel over the doorways, more touches reflecting the historic mill and bridge that stood in the county along Settendown Creek during the late 19th century.
"You try to get some of the local touch, the community feel for each of the different buildings," Wening said.
Although the new school is reportedly growing by leaps and bounds, its history goes back to 2005, according to school system director of communications Jennifer Caracciolo, when the 34-acre site was purchased for a future school that would serve the north Forsyth Community.
Like several other school projects at the time, Caracciolo said that construction of Poole’s Mill was tabled in the wake of the Great Recession that the country experienced after the crash of 2008. But in the intervening years of recession recovery, plans for the school were revived and approved, with a $21.7 million agreement for Carroll Daniel Construction to build it.
Designed with a layout similar to Brandywine Elementary School in south Forsyth, Poole’s Mill will have the capacity for about 1,140 students, 117 teachers and will be headed by Paige Andrews, the previous principal of Silver City Elementary.
During the site tour, Caroll Daniel project manager Brent Braham said that as a company they always love a challenge, like what they were given at Poole’s Mill and other school construction projects in the county.
He said that with schools especially, the real payoff is being able to hand off their work to staff and students, and seeing them enjoy the new space.
"We always like the challenge when it comes to construction," He said. "But the biggest excitement we get is the finished product, it's the opportunity to turn it over to the staff and possibly see the excitement of the teachers when they go to a new facility."
With the Poole’s Mill Elementary project on track for a summer 2020 completion date, Wening said that their next big milestone at the site will be “drying in” the structure, or making sure that the entire building is completely enclosed from the elements, which they hope to have completed before winter weather comes in the fall."Then for three or four months you concentrate on interior finishes," he said. "We're well-positioned to open the school a year from now."