School days in the original Burroughs-Molette Elementary School building are permanently winding down. Students, teachers and administrators will all be moved into the brand new school Feb. 24.

The new 130,000 square-foot school building, which will house both Burroughs-Molette’s K-5 classes as well as the FACES pre-K and Leaps and Bounds programs, has been constructed directly behind the older school building, located at 1900 Lee St. in Brunswick.

The project began in June 2017, and school system officials have been excited to show off the year-and-a-half’s worth of work.

“I have been in a lot of elementary schools over the years and when this is completed, it will be one of the nicest I have seen,” said Virgil Cole, superintendent of Glynn County Schools, on Monday. “From the cabinet work in the classrooms to the upgraded security to the eco-friendly features, this school has just about everything you could want in a 21st century school.”

There’s a lot to brag about, and school officials invited several community members on a tour of the new facility last week.

In the days prior to the tour, the FACES pre-K and Leaps and Bounds programs moved into the two wings that now house those classes.

The remaining K-5 classes will move into the new building over the weekend of Feb. 23-24.

“It’s basically two schools in one, with two wings of pre-K and Leaps and Bounds and three wings with the cafeteria and gym for the K-5,” said Al Boudreau, executive director of operations for Glynn County Schools.

Every classroom in the new school includes ample storage, along with cubby holes for every student.

“It probably has more storage than any other school we’ve ever done,” Boudreau said. “Almost every classroom has a storage room they can use.”

The kindergarten and first-grade classrooms each include two bathrooms, and all classrooms have built-in sink areas.

The new cafeteria is much larger and more spacious than those in Glynn County’s other nine elementary schools.

The school building has added security as well. School visitors will enter and sign in at the front desk, and a school administrator will unlock the second entrance door to allow them into the school.

The school building also features a geothermal heating and cooling system, which Boudreau said will save the school system a lot of money in the years to come.

“It’s very efficient,” he said. “It pays off in the long run over the life cycle of the equipment … You pay extra for it up front, but over 20 to 25 years you end up saving money.”

The work, completed by McDonald Construction Company out of Vidalia, is under budget so far. The project had a $24.3 million construction budget and overall project budget of $28.5 million.

The work isn’t fully completed, though. Once everyone and everything is moved into the new facility, an asbestos abatement process will commence in the old building. Then, that building — constructed in the 1960s — will be demolished.

The southern wing, called the “old E wing,” will be left standing. The local Boys & Girls Club plans to convert that space into a new center for after-school programs.

Once the demolition is complete, the final stages of the Burroughs-Molette Elementary construction project can be wrapped up. The new playground will be installed and the parking lot and front drive will be completed.

Boudreau said he hopes to have all the work done by August, but that timeline isn’t set in stone because there’s no way to know how long the asbestos abatement will take.

School officials and Glynn County Board of Education members have previously said they hope to see this new school serve as a community hub for the neighborhood that surrounds it.

“While the heart of any school is its teachers, staff and students, I hope this new school is a source of pride and hope for the community in keeping with the two outstanding educators that it is named after,” Cole said.

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