At the end of the current school year, the Bloomingdale Elementary School building will be demolished to make way for an entirely new school facility, according to the Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS).
Students and staff will be moved to a “swing site” during demolition and construction, which is scheduled to begin in September 2023 and end in July 2025. The exact location for the swing site has not yet been determined, according to district officials. , but the students will stay together and not be separated in different schools.
The school district will host a District 7 Town Hall meeting on Nov. 17 at Bloomingdale Elementary School at 6:30 p.m., where officials will provide additional information.
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Bloomingdale Elementary, which serves about 380 students in grades five through five, is located at 101 East Main Street, south of US 80. The new school facility will be built on the same site.
The current elementary school building is about 60 years old and in need of upgrades, according to the district’s project executive, Slade Helmly.
Critical systems have outlived their useful system life, Helmly said. This includes HVAC, electrical, fire protection, plumbing, architecture and technology infrastructure.
“You can imagine that a 60-year-old school needs major upgrades,” Helmly said, “It makes more sense to build new than to renovate the existing one.”
Bloomingdale Elementary School was originally slated for renovations as part of ESPLOST IV plans. ESPLOST is a penny sales tax on goods and services purchased within the county that is used to fund capital improvement projects for the county school district. Expanded through a voter referendum every five years, ESPLOST has generated more than $1 billion for public schools since its inception in 2006.
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Original plans to renovate Bloomingdale Elementary were moved when the total costs for the renovations exceeded 50% of the costs to build a replacement facility, SCCPSS spokeswoman Sheila Blanco said. At this scale, it would be more cost-effective to build an entirely new facility, Blanco said.
The exact cost for the new school building has not been finalized, but Helmly puts the construction of the new facilities in the general vicinity of $25 million to $30 million. White Bluff Elementary, which was completed in July 2020 and serves about 650 students, cost $22.6 million to build.
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At the Oct. 5 school board meeting, district officials approved transferring $28,705,000 from various ESPLOST IV accounts – specifically the Pooler Elementary School and Bloomingdale Elementary School renewal accounts – to a new replacement school account. The construction of the replacement school will come entirely from ESPLOST funds.
As the project is still in the early stages, no specific design plans have been drawn up yet. According to the program plan, the project is still in the programming phase, which will be followed by schematic development and design development in February 2023.
Once the basic spaces are created to Georgia Department of Education standards, community meetings will begin to solicit input from staff and community members and stakeholders, Helmly said.
Nancy Guan is the general assignment reporter covering Chatham County municipalities. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @nancyguann.