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Final touches on new Sallie Z.
Elementary school to open in Jan.; closing ceremony for old facility set for Dec. 14
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Ricky Parker, right, and Billy Hendrix of RLP Flooring out of Jacksonville, Fla. begin laying tile in the cafeteria of the new Sallie Zetterower Elementary School Monday.

Tile is being laid, desks are being set up and final touches are being put on the new Sallie Zetterower Elementary School on Cawana Road.

The school is on schedule to open when students return from Christmas holidays Thursday, Jan. 6, said Charles Wilson, assistant superintendent for finance with the school system.

"Teachers and staff will complete the move during the break and I don't anticipate any issues that would cause a major problem," Wilson said. "I know everyone is excited about the new school."

Monday morning, Sallie Z. principal Todd Williford brought his front office staff over for a tour of the new school and the front office area.

"As we see the new Sallie Z. take shape it gets more ‘wow' every time," said Williford, who is in his tenth year as principal. "It will be an amazing change for all of us come January."

The school is an exact replica of the new Julia P. Bryant Elementary that opened in August on Stockyard Road. And, like Julia P., Sallie Z. will have themed hallways to facilitate learning experiences, said Dr. Lewis Holloway, superintendent of Bulloch schools.

"The schools are similar, however the themes are different," Holloway said. "We have water, jungle, space and dinosaurs at Julia P. We'll have desert, swamp, mountains and Gray's Reef at Sallie Z."

Also, like Julia P., Sallie Z. will have a map on the floor of its cafetorium, but instead of the world, Sallie Z. will have a map of North America.

"A school board member told me a Julia P. parent asked their child who they ate lunch with that day," Holloway said. "The child couldn't remember. He just knew he sat next to the Sea of Japan. We hope the themes are encouraging that type of intuitive learning."

Williford said some teachers toured the new school last week during Thanksgiving break to look at the set up and their classrooms.

"The last day before break will be a sad but happy day," Williford said. "We have a lot of memories to bring over to the new school."

Sallie Zetterower opened at its East Jones Avenue location in 1953. Williford said a closing ceremony for the school is set for Tuesday, Dec. 14.

At the same time, Sallie Z. is nearing completion, construction at the new Mattie Lively Elementary on Debbie Drive is on schedule for a January 2012 opening.

The new schools are paid for using funds approved in the 2009 Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) referendum that dedicated a penny of local sales tax to school projects.

Wilson said the cost for the new Sallie Z. is $11.6 million, Mattie Lively $14.4 million and Julia P. $11.7 million.

James Healy can be reached at 912-489-9402.


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