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What’s ahead for Forsyth County’s next elementary school
Apple schools

New details and plans have now been released concerning the county’s newest elementary school, Poole’s Mill, proposed to open for students and the community in 2020.

At a meeting of the Forsyth County Board of Education held last week, board members unanimously approved a $21.7 million agreement with Carroll Daniel Construction for the construction of Poole’s Mill Elementary School in northwest Forsyth.

According to a presentation to the board by Forsyth County Schools Director of Construction Tom Wening, Carroll Daniel Construction was one among four companies to put forward a bid to build the new elementary school and was picked for its low bid, coming in over $1 million dollars cheaper than the second-lowest bidder.

The construction company was also awarded points during the recommendation process for its related experience in the county. Previously, they were contracted to build five county school-system buildings and projects, including Alliance Academy for Innovation, Kelly Mill, Brookwood and Whitlow elementary schools, as well as an addition to North Forsyth High School that was completed in 2007.  

“As it relates to the specific recommendation of Poole’s Mill Elementary School, we were pleased that we had four responsive proposers,” Wening said. “I think in this case, we’ve got a pretty straight forward recommendation and evaluation process and award.”

Currently, Poole’s Mill has been planned with a design similar to Brandywine Elementary School in south Forsyth, with the capacity for 1,125 students, according to Jennifer Caracciolo, director of communications for Forsyth County Schools.

Poole’s Mill, like East Forsyth High School, is a property that was purchased by the system in the early 2000s but was tabled due to the severity of the economic recession that the country experienced after the crash of 2008.

Caracciolo said that they have plans to craft the aesthetic of the school around the Poole’s Mill area, honoring Dr. M.L. Poole, who owned a mill and cotton gin operation in the area during the late 19th century, and for which Poole’s Mill Bridge and Poole’s Mill Park was named after.

“We prefer to name schools with historical significance, whether it be about a former community or a former school or even someone who had an impact, like Dr. Denmark,” Caracciolo said. “It was easy for us given where this property is located to name it Poole’s Mill Elementary School.” 

In keeping with that aesthetic, the entryway to the school will be the system’s new double entry security door design and will have a unique design reflecting the character of Poole’s Mill Bridge and historic mill, she said.

“We’re going to replicate that lattice design with metal and paint it black,” she said. “There will also be a wheel to signify the mill.”

Just last week the system also announced that Paige Andrews, current principal of Silver City Elementary, was named as principal of the new school. 

In a statement to the FCN, Andrews stated that she was excited to jump into the role and was happy to have the 2019-20 school year to plan for the opening of the school. 

“In my career I have never opened a school, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge and the excitement of building a new school community,” Andrews said. 

Although the system will break ground on the new school this January, Caracciolo said that they have a long way to go to be sure that the schools and their communities are ready for the 2020-21 school year. 

Caracciolo said that because Poole’s Mill has been designed to take pressure off schools in the surrounding area that are at or over capacity, the new school will involve a redistricting process, but that process is not set to begin for some time.

“That area of the county is where we are experiencing growth and development, but we have not discussed, nor have we begun redistricting,” Caracciolo said. 

She said that redistricting process for Poole’s Mill will likely begin in 2019, a year prior to the school’s opening.

“That’s when we’ll actually determine which schools will be impacted specifically ... so we have the most current data to make our decisions on,” Caracciolo said.