Calvin Donaldson Elementary adds 100 students, renovates old building for space

Eager students at Calvin Donaldson Elementary sit in their brand new classroom. (Image: WTVC)

Students in Hamilton County have been back in class for 17 days.

During the summer, a few schools received major renovations.

The principal at the school tells us because of rezoning changes the school added 100 new students this year.

The school wasn't big enough to hold that many students.

So, it was necessary to reopen a building next to the school that sat empty and boarded up for years.

Eager students at Calvin Donaldson Elementary sit in their brand new classroom.

"We got the building because we knew there was gonna be an increase in enrollment," said Principal Cherrye Robertson.

A project, Robertson says, lasted more than three months.

"They knew that we were bursting at the seams in the old building so they needed to redo this one," she said.

Assistant Principal Lindsay Starnes says the staff decided they wanted to try something new by separating the 4th and 5th graders from the rest of the school in the new building.

"It just prepares them for the transition to middle school [by] having their own space and moving from class to class," said Starnes.

5th grader Darrion Hammond couldn't be more excited about that.

"It's like there's no little kids," he said.

4th grader Melique Williams agrees.

Their favorite parts of the building?

"Its got a door that leads outside. I think that's really cool too," said Williams.

"It has got way bigger bathrooms. Its got four water fountains. None of them have four water fountains," said Hammond.

"According to the Central Office, the project cost $550,000 and was designed and built in house using HCDE maintenance staff.

The renovation added some very noticeable upgrades.

Teachers can access the new building using key-less fobs.

There are also TV's and phones now in each classroom.

"Our intercom system is connected to the phone system. So, now, teachers at any point in the day - if they have an emergency - they can pick up the phone and dial the office. They can call the child's parent. If there's an emergency situation with the child, and they need to get in touch with their parents the phone is right there and they have access to that," said Robertson.

The new addition added four new teaching positions.

The Central Office sent us an email about all the renovations and updates at each school:

Calvin Donaldson Annex Renovation $550,000-Reopened a 10,000 sf classroom space due to overcrowding. It was a total renovation including HVAC, electrical, and finishes. Most of the project was designed and built in house using HCDE maintenance staff with a construction schedule of 3 ½ months.
Nolan 4.5 Million-Over the summer we replaced the chiller, replaced urinals with low water consumptions units, and expanded the cafeteria. We are roughly 80% complete with the classroom addition and multipurpose area.
Wolftever 7.4 Million-Summer work included a major office renovation, chiller replacement, north wing classroom addition, and work continues on the media center and multipurpose room
Sale Creek 10.4 Million-Completed the parking lot renovation, new septic system, chiller replacement, and baseball field repairs over the summer. Work continues on the new addition which includes additional classrooms and a new cafeteria
Daisy Entrance Road $554,000-Constructed a new pick up/drop off for car riders. It has solved a major safety and traffic issue by completely separating the High School and Elementary School traffic.
Hixson High Chiller Replacement-$120,000-Replaced a nonfunctioning chiller with a more energy efficient model using HCDE maintenance staff.
Hixson Elem Restroom Renovation $54,000-Complete restroom renovation including plumbing fixtures, paint, and finishes using HCDE maintenance staff.
Normal Park Upper Partial Roof Replacement $335,000-Work continues on the roof replacement of the main classroom areas
Red Bank Elem HVAC Controls $120,000.-Installed an updated HVAC control system that will aid in energy management and cut utility costs.
System wide flooring replacement-$80,000-Replaced flooring in multiple classrooms across the system.
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