Construction at the new Countryside Community High School is progressing according to plan, if not according to schedule.
Delays mean about 80 middle and high school students will have to finish this year at Countryside Montessori, the elementary feeder school on Mallard Creek Road.
Middle and high school students should be able to start fall classes in the new building, under construction on Johnston Oehler Road.
The fall opening would be about a year behind schedule, mostly because of delays getting permits required for construction, said Executive Director Marty Haugh.
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The delay in moving upper grades forced school officials to push back an expansion at Countryside Montessori.
The space crunch also resulted in limits on how many students could enroll for high school this year.
“We had to juggle some things,” Haugh said.
Countryside is building the high school to continue serving students as they progress to higher grades.
Two existing University City campuses – one for preschool programs and one for Montessori programs – will continue to serve students through the equivalent of sixth grade.
About 410 students are in those programs this year. The board hopes to add additional classes in the lower grades, which have waiting lists.
Next year, school officials expect the high school to admit juniors. Enrollment ultimately is expected to reach about 400, Haugh said.
The high school campus is on about 17 acres located less than a mile north of Mallard Creek High. School officials also want to build a gymnasium in later phases and a building to house a cafeteria and an auditorium.
Construction started in August on the classroom building and is scheduled to be completed in spring.
Work on the exterior should continue through December. Crews are scheduled to start work on the interior in November.
“Right now they've got all of the steel supports and concrete floors in, and plumbing and electrical are in under the floors,” Haugh said.
After initial delays in getting permits, Countryside's board made plans to start construction by December 2007.
That plan hit a snag when the N.C. Department of Transportation said Countryside would have to widen Johnston Oehler Road enough to add the left-turn lane in front of the school.
The school needed right-of-way agreements with property owners on the opposite side of the street in order to add the left-turn lane.
The board cleared those hurdles and obtained the necessary construction permits.
“We've gone through our pain, and we can see everybody is going to be in a great situation next year,” Haugh said.