Moving on up to a new school

First Posted: 12/18/2009

DOBSON Dreams are becoming a reality for one school system and two communities.
Since May, construction has steadily progressed on two new schools and officials are optimistic that they will be completed in plenty of time for the start of the 2010-11 school year.
Pilot Mountain has seen the framework set for a new middle school on Westfield Road. The school, which has a different set-up than any other school in the county, will feature a sunken gymnasium featuring a stage and a cafeteria that will overlook it. The administrative section is in the center of the school, allowing an administrator to look to the right into the cafeteria, left into the two-story media center and straight ahead into the classroom wing.
The classroom wing has three floors, meaning each grade at the school will get its own floor. The classrooms on each floor are a carbon copy of each other.
There will be a courtyard with walkways and planters in an area between the classroom wing and the gymnasium structure. There is also a feature built in to allow the school to close off the gymnasium and cafeteria from the rest of the school in case of evening events.
The school will also have a football/soccer field and a football/soccer practice field as well as a baseball field and a softball field.
Neil Atkins will be the principal at the school when it opens in August. He is excited to begin a new chapter for Pilot Mountain Middle School.
I think this is going to be a real source of pride for the students and for the community, he said of the facility.
John S. Clark is the general contractor in charge of the site and is working according to a conceptual design by Little Diversified Architectural Consulting.
Dobson has seen a completely different framework come to life on Rockford Road in the form of Rockford Elementary School.
This school will have two stories with the lower elementary grades housed on the bottom floor of the classroom wing and the upper elementary grades on the top floor. The lower elementary classrooms will each have a door that opens onto the playground area for the students.
The school will also have a small stage which leads to a multipurpose room which leads to the cafeteria. The cafeteria and multipurpose room will be separated by a folding partition which can be opened to create a larger space. The music room is situated on the other side of the cafeteria in order to allow the students to make as much noise as they want without disturbing the rest of the school.
The school will also feature a pathway through the woods to a small pond on the property. A safety feature at the school allows administrators to close a door in the schools lobby, forcing anyone entering the school to walk into the office area to access the rest of the facility.
I have seen it from no floors poured to floors poured to the roof being put on. Its scary and its exciting, said Dana Thomas, who will be the new principal at Rockford Elementary when it opens. Im just going with the flow. They were so far ahead with the building project when I came in that I have been fortunate enough to be able to tag along.
R.L. Casey, Inc. is the general contractor for the school whose conceptual design was created by Little Diversified Architectural Consulting.
For the Surry County Schools Board of Education, the ensuing completion of the two schools is the end of a long visioning process. The completion of the schools and subsequent conversion of the existing Pilot Mountain Middle School into Pilot Mountain Elementary School will allow the school system to get rid of many of the mobile units now in use.
I am not a fan of mobile classrooms. I think the students and the teachers as well feel so isolated from the rest of the school, and there are extra concerns with safety. Im very excited to be getting rid of the mobile classrooms, said Michele Hunter, board member. I think weve worked well with the architects, and weve involved the board and the community members so were allowing all of the stakeholders to have a voice. I hope folks are going to be very proud.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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