HENRY COUNTY, Va. – As teachers and students in Henry County get ready to head back to school, many are talking about the new Meadow View Elementary School.
This is the last year students at John Redd Smith Elementary School and Collinsville Primary will be spending at their old schools, before being combined into the new elementary school in August 2018.
Meadow View Elementary is the first new school to be built in Henry County in nearly 30 years, since Magna Vista High School in 1988.
Monica Hatchett, the director of communication for Henry County Schools, says the original timeline of having the school completed and the students moved in by January, was tight from the beginning. Henry County saw 16 inches of rain in April and May, which is double what's normally expected for the area. That put construction on hold, pushing the move-in date back to the fall semester.
Hatchett says she drives past the school on her way to and from work and is always surprised by how much the 200 workers on site can get done each day.
"It's really interesting to see the differences in the building from the morning to the evening," she says. "I've seen no roof in the morning, to having the roof raised by the evening time. They really are working hard and getting a lot done every single day."
The new building will feature all-new technology, from the media rooms and computer lab to collaborative spaces for meetings and group projects.
Teachers will also be able to keep a closer eye on students, as the girls and boys bathrooms will feature a shared station of sinks located in the hallway.
Vaulted ceilings in each classroom will help to reflect the sunlight into the rooms, cutting down on energy costs for the school district.
"The sloped ceilings were put in the classrooms so we could put the lighting, the windows, up high," explains Henry County Schools project manager, Ken Adkins. "That allows the sunlight to come into the building which will create natural lighting."
It will also cut down on the use of ceiling lights and help keep the energy costs low.
As students at John Redd Smith Elementary and Collinsville Primary head back to their classrooms this fall, the theme for this year will be "under construction." They'll see pictures of the new school and learn what they can expect when they're all ready to move in next fall.