Work on the future campus of Blanche School is in full swing. The ground breaking for the 77,000 square foot facility was held in September of 2019. It's being built on a 103 acre track a mile and a half from the existing Blanche School on the Ardmore Hwy., an aging facility that opened in 1948.
Despite storm damage, extensive rain and the COVID-19 pandemic, the project remains on schedule. “We feel pretty good about where we're at,” Ricky Bryant Supervisor of Maintenance and Facilities for the Lincoln County School System said. “We had some high winds do some damage and went 21 consecutive days with rain but everything has stayed on track. So far the pandemic has had little effect with construction on this project.”
“I'd say overall we're fifty-percent complete,” he continued. “We're getting close to having the building dried in. Once we're at that point we can get the interior and site work completed.”
“Construction is expected to be wrapped up in February of 2121,” added Bryant. We expect to make the move from the old building in the summer of 2121, with the new school opening that fall. It's amazing the amount of work involved with the move. I know when we re-occupied the building after the tornado damage repairs at South Lincoln in 2014, it was a challenge but your talking about moving a complete school. There will also be a lot of training for the staff to keep the new building operating. There's a lot systems involved, everything from operating the kitchen equipment, HVAC, to the fire alarm system.”
“Construction of the new school is overdue,” he added. “The existing building is our most expensive to operate as far as repairs that we have in our system and it's the smallest school. Construction materials used back in the 40's will not last forever and are obsolete today.”
Ben Nanney, project superintendent for Lashlee-Rich Construction said. “We really appreciate the support we've received from the community and the school. You can tell everyone is proud of their new school and look forward to getting it open. It makes our job much easier when everyone works in a coordinated effort and it's much appreciated.”