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New Mattie Lively school nears completion
Officials hope for a February opening
Mattie Lively Web
A worker with Choate Construction cuts some molding Thursday inside the new Mattie Lively Elementary School. Construction at the school on Debbie Drive in Statesboro is expected to last through the end of January, with students moving into the new school sometime after that.

    Framework is all but complete and final details are coming into place at the new Mattie Lively Elementary School building on Debbie Drive.
    With a Feb. 7 project-completion-date two months away, construction crews are beginning to lay tile, install lights, insert ductwork, and paint in preparation of the school’s opening next year.
    According to Dr. Lewis Holloway, superintendent of Bulloch County schools, officials are optimistic the new, two-tiered building will be open to students and teachers as early as mid-February.
    A previous construction timeline had the new Mattie Lively opening in January, with teachers and staff moving in during the Christmas holiday.
    “We originally hoped we could move over the Christmas break,” Holloway said. “But knew if not, we could move in during the February break. If not then, we would move in over the spring break in April.”
    If all goes well with
construction, teachers will make the switch to the new location during a scheduled Winter Break February 13-17, he said.
    “We are very excited and looking forward to it. It will be very nice to be in an up-to-date, state of the art facility,” said Jennifer Quick, principal at Mattie Lively. “The kids are really excited about the new school.”
    If the move is postponed, school locations will be changed during spring holidays April 2-6 instead, Holloway said. Odds of being relocated by April’s end are at 100 percent, he said.
    School officials say the major move will not be a problem for students or staff.
    “We can move in just three days,” Holloway said. “Teachers can box up materials and place them on a crate outside their classrooms. The crate is then loaded into a truck, moved and set outside their new classroom. It is a pretty easy deal.”
    “We are kind of experts at [moving] since we have done it once before,” Quick said. “Teachers are able to pack up materials and have them moved for us. It is one those things we plan out very carefully. It is a very quick transition.”
    The original Mattie Lively school was torn down after the 2009-2010 school year. Teachers and students have been in the old Julia P. Bryant Elementary building on Donnie Simmons Way since the new Julia P. school opened.
    The new Mattie Lively will be the third Bulloch County elementary school completed since August 2010 (Mattie Lively, Julia P. Bryant and Sallie Zetterower).
    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.
    The cost for the new Mattie Lively is $14.4 million, Sallie Z. is $11.6 million, and Julia P. $11.7 million, according to the Bulloch County Board of Education.
    Each of the schools feature decorated halls, floors and windows that shine light on a unique focus.
    Julia P. Bryant features a global emphasis, with murals of major world events located throughout the school, while Sallie Zetterower implements a United States theme — a mural of a United States map sprawls across the lunchroom floor.
    The new Mattie Lively will place an emphasis on Georgia. Its decorations will teach the natural history of the state in chronological order. 
    “We start with Pangaea and the history of Georgia upstairs,” Holloway said. “We move from dinosaurs to the ice age and into present day throughout the hall. Downstairs will feature all sea creatures because it is designed like we are under water.”
    Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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