SOUTH POINT, Ohio — Construction on two new elementary schools could begin around the first of May and the new South Point Elementary and Burlington Elementary School buildings ready for students by the start of the 2009-10 school year, said Superintendent Ken Cook.

The school district has forwarded bids for the two schools totaling $15.1 million to the Ohio School Facilities Commission in Columbus until next month. The state is putting up most of the money for the two new schools.

“The commission only meets once a month,” Cook said. “With their approval, we’ll move forward with the project.”

Students moved into new schools at South Point High School and South Point Middle School earlier this year while Burlington Elementary School students moved into the former high school building in December.

While South Point Elementary students are staying in their current building until the new school opens, Burlington Elementary students had to move to a new school. The school building in Burlington, a focal point for the community, is being torn down so a new school can be built on the site.

“They’re adjusting very well,” said Stephanie Hill, a Burlington kindergarten teacher said Tuesday. “They’re enjoying the gymnasium. They like the (bigger) cafeteria, too. It has a big kid feel to it.”

“It makes me sad” to see the old school torn down, but glad that a new school will be built to take its place, she said.

The former middle school building also has been torn down and will be the site of South Point Elementary School.

Under a project labor agreement with the Tri-State Buildings Trade Council, 80 percent of the people to work on the new schools will be from the Tri-State through local union building trades, Cook said.

“The students are adjusting well to the new buildings,” he said. “It’s been a positive. The technology at the new schools gives teachers tools they didn’t have before to work with.”

It will take 12 to 14 months to build the new schools, Cook said.

The district rejected the first round of bids for the new elementary schools before signing the project labor agreement similar to one approved last year by Ironton school officials for new schools in Ironton.

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