Meadow Ridge and Oak Grove, the first new elementary schools in Albany since 2009, are beginning to take shape at the north and east ends of town.
The new schools are among projects being paid for in the Greater Albany Public Schools district through proceeds from a $159 million bond measure.
Meadow Ridge Elementary School, adjacent to Timber Ridge School on Timber Ridge Street Northeast, will be able to house up to 600 students. Grade configurations aren't final, but Greater Albany Public Schools plans to close Clover Ridge School, which houses kindergarten through second grades, and make Meadow Ridge a sister campus to Timber Ridge, which currently serves grades 3-8.
The 90,000-square-foot building will include a two-story classroom wing, two gyms, a commons, a media center and a covered play area.
The new commons and the school entryway will have a special feature: radiant floor heating, warmed by water-filled tubes below the concrete. It takes a while to warm the area, but the concrete retains the heat well and it's considered a more efficient system for areas that aren't used all day long, Tuttle said.
Currently, crews are working on the concrete tilt-ups for the school's new gyms. Those should go up the first week of January, said James Franks, the senior project manager for HMK, which is managing the district's bond-related construction projects.
The framing in of the two-story classroom wing should begin the first week of December.
A delay in receiving permission to build in a wetlands area set back construction deadlines for the school, which was supposed to be completed by next fall. Russ Tuttle of Todd Construction, project superintendent, said the deadline right now is Nov. 15, 2019, for "substantial completion."
"Seventy percent of the job is pretty much right on," he said.
The bond project page on the school district's website states the tentative plan is to move primary students from Clover Ridge during next year's winter break.
The school board awarded a bid for construction to Todd Construction for Meadow Ridge for an amount not to exceed $30.07 million. The total budget for the project, with architect fees, project managers, furnishings and equipment, and other miscellaneous costs, is $40.05 million and is on track, according to the district.
The new Oak Grove Elementary School is going up on the same property as the old Oak Grove, at 1500 Oak Grove Drive N.W. in North Albany.
Oak Grove is a sister campus to Fir Grove and had housed 290 students in third through fifth grade. Those students are going to classes this year at North Albany elementary and middle schools.
When it's finished next fall, the new Oak Grove will be able to house 500 students. Project Superintendent Jerry Sherman of Gerding Builders said work is on schedule and on budget, which is $28 million.
The 68,000-square-foot school will have 24 classrooms in a two-story wing accessible by an elevator. Smaller rooms between the classrooms will serve as breakout areas for small-group work or meetings.
Steve Earle, HMK's senior project manager, said he's heard school officials are particularly excited about the larger parking lot the building will have. In past years, he said, events at the school drew spectators who parked all along Oak Grove Drive because there wasn't room in the lot.
"This is going to be an amazing improvement," he said.
The two new school buildings are among the largest projects to be funded with proceeds from the $159 million bond measure, which voters approved in 2017.
The largest is the first phase of a full-scale replacement for West Albany High School. Groundbreaking is set for next spring.
Other projects include new career-technical education spaces at South Albany High School and at the district's middle schools, and some $50 million in facility upgrades throughout the district, including plumbing, paving, roofwork, mechanical systems and other remodels or upgrades.