submitted-Pevely Elementary renovations groundbreaking PGB5.jpg

Preliminary work began last week for an addition being built at Pevely Elementary School.

The start of construction followed a groundbreaking ceremony, held Aug. 20, at the school, 30 Main Street, which is part of the Dunklin R-5 School District.

About 30 people attended the groundbreaking, said Matt Lichtenstein, the district’s director of communications.

“There is excitement over the project among the staff, the students and the community, I believe,” Deputy Superintendent Clint Freeman said.

The addition, which will be built on the west side of the school, is expected to be finished in August 2020, the district reported in a written statement.

It will have space for eight new classrooms, which would eliminate the need for two modular buildings the district has set up outside of the main building.

“Anytime we can get the students into the main building, we feel it (creates) a positive learning experience,” Superintendent Stan Stratton said.

The project will be funded with a $6 million bond issue voters approved in August 2018.

The district also will use a $1.4 million federal grant it received to build the classroom addition, which will double as a storm shelter.

That addition will be built to resist 250-mile per hour winds, or an EF 5-tornado. It will be able to house 881 people. Pevely Elementary School has about 700 students enrolled, the district reported.

The district also plans to build two new classrooms on the school’s north wing and the cafeteria will be expanded. Also, an elevator will be installed and the nurse’s office will be renovated.

In all, those projects will add 18,765-square feet of space to the building’s existing 84,000 square feet, school officials reported.

The district also will use revenue from the bond issue to build a new bus garage behind the Herculaneum High School football field. The old bus garage at the Pevely Elementary property was scheduled to be torn down this week, Lichtenstein said.

The total cost for the projects will be closer to $7.9 million, with R-5 officials paying the remaining approximately $500,000 out of district funds, Lichtenstein said.

Layneco Construction of St. Louis is the contractor for the projects.