As teachers finish making personal touches, the pristine McDeeds Creek Elementary on Camp Easter Road is all set to welcome students from kindergarten to 5th grade for its inaugural school year. It will be home to the Bulls.
Situated on 36 acres, the modern new 117,000 square-foot school has 40 classrooms, a pair of project rooms for collaboration between classes, a combined gymnasium and performance stage, and a cafeteria that can serve 300 students at once. Though it has room for 800 students, it will serve about 500 students from Whispering Pines and Vass for the 2019-2020 school year, easing overcrowding at Sandhills Farm Life and Vass-Lakeview Elementary Schools. McDeeds Creek is the first of 4 new elementary schools to be constructed, with the other 3 planned to open in 2020 and 2021.
A new roundabout has also been constructed on Camp Easter Road to funnel traffic to a road connecting to the school’s main entrance. The connecting road will also lead to 130 homes planned adjacent to the school’s campus as the first phase of extensive plans to develop the acreage as far as U.S. 1.
Inside the school, books fill the media center’s shelves and the classrooms, and walls are lined with cubbyholes. The gym, cafeteria and media center are all accessible from a central hallway from which four classroom wings extend. Bright strips on the floor correspond with the colors assigned to each wing to assist new students and parents in finding their classrooms. These wings have plenty of windows to allow natural light into each classroom.
Like the three schools that will follow it, McDeeds is designed with a geothermal system that will heat and cool the school, and a continuous thermal barrier built into the walls and roof will help stabilize the temperature inside.
The school has many other improvements as well. There are sinks and storage closets in each classroom; the music room leads to a ramp to wheel equipment onto the gym stage; the media center comes complete with a robotics room; and a kiln will be installed in an alcove off of the art room.
“Teachers know what they need. So in the beginning of these projects, we rounded up groups of principals, assistant principals, teachers, exceptional children specialists, math and science curriculum developers, we brought in directors across the gamut within our educational system and everyone got together and said what is it that you need to have in your schools,” John Birath, Moore County Schools director for operations, said. “All of that stuff got incorporated here.”
“We’ve tried to build flexibility in upfront because we never know what’s going to happen 20 years from now,” Birath said.
(Original story by Mary Kate Murphy, The Pilot 8/2/19)