New school nears completion

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 22, 2006

JACKSON – Mary Harrell is preparing to move in.

The new principal of Central Elementary School will be taking charge of the new facility August 3 if all goes according to plan.

According to Phil Matthews, assistant superintendent of Northampton County Schools, plans are proceeding along with having the principal occupy the building on his target date.

“The only inspection we have left is the life safety features,” Matthews said. “After that is done, we should be able to get a Certificate of Occupancy.”

Next week will be busy for the new elementary school which will take in the students who previously attended Jackson-Eastside Elementary and Seaboard-Coates Elementary.

Furniture will arrive throughout the week and the final flooring will be put down in parts of the building.

A tour of the building earlier this week showed many of the areas inside nearing completion. The classrooms were in place, except for furniture, and many of the aesthetics of the school were already done.

One of the places Central Elementary will be far superior to the schools it is replacing will be in the area of exceptional children.

“The entire elementary exceptional children’s population will be served here,” Matthews said. “In the past, at Seaboard-Coates, we were only able to keep up with ADA (Americans with Disabilities) act requirements. This school has been built to modern standards.”

Included in the exceptional children’s service area are three classrooms, handicapped accessible bathrooms and a room between two of the classrooms that contains a washer, dryer and changing table.

Most of the items at Central Elementary School will be new, but some of the better items from the two old schools will be brought to Central.

The two schools that are closing, Jackson-Eastside and Seaboard-Coates, have different futures ahead of them.

Jackson-Eastside will become the Northampton Alternative “More Than School” and will house approximately 100 middle and high school students

Seaboard-Coates has a variety of possibilities in its future. There have been requests to purchase the school for industry, but the district has made no firm decision.

As Matthews finishes his sixth building project in the school district, he will soon begin another.

The Northampton County Board of Education recently approved a plan to build a new administrative office on the front of the property currently owned by the school district.

The building will be constructed in front of the current alternative school which is on the property of the old Jackson High School and the site of the current Central Office building.