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{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;p&gt;Architect Lance Courtemanche of the firm Harvard Jolly Architecture explained some of the details of the new plan for George Marks Elementary. &lt;br /&gt;The new main building of the school will be a two-story structure, roughly in the shape of a &amp;ldquo;Y.&amp;rdquo; &lt;br /&gt;The administration suite and a new dining/multipurpose area will be the first two things people see as they enter the school.&lt;br /&gt;&amp;ldquo;As you go straight down the hallway to the intersection of the Y, that’s kind of our central point of the school,&amp;rdquo; Courtemanche said. &amp;ldquo;The media center is directly across from you. It&amp;rsquo;ll be all glass; you’ll be able to see into it.&amp;rdquo;&lt;br /&gt;Building 10, which isn&amp;rsquo;t being demolished, will still contain its current four classrooms.&lt;br /&gt;&amp;ldquo;We decided that we&amp;rsquo;re going to try and maintain that building as much as possible in its current condition,&amp;rdquo; Courtemanche said. &amp;ldquo;We&amp;rsquo;re going to clean it up, we&amp;rsquo;re going to paint it, we&amp;rsquo;re going to do some things.&amp;rdquo;&lt;br /&gt;The current media-center building will also be saved, and ultimately be divided into two spaces for music and art. Building 12, which also isn&amp;rsquo;t being demolished, houses six primary-level classrooms.&lt;br /&gt;Overall, the new school building will be of a much more modern design than the current school campus. &lt;br /&gt;&amp;ldquo;This is our initial swing at trying to bring a 21st-century design into a campus that&amp;rsquo;s got several very old brick buildings,&amp;rdquo; Courtemanche said.&lt;br /&gt;The newly constructed main building and the fence surrounding it will have brick accents, but be of a largely modern style with &amp;ldquo;a lot more color than you&amp;rsquo;re probably used to seeing,&amp;rdquo; he added.&lt;br /&gt;&amp;ldquo;Brick is going to be expensive. We can&amp;rsquo;t afford it,&amp;rdquo; Courtemanche said. &amp;ldquo;We want to tie it in, but we don&amp;rsquo;t want it to be the dominant theme in the 21st-century design here.&amp;rdquo;&lt;br /&gt;Cost is a factor, Volusia County Schools Facilities Director Saralee Morrissey said, not least of all because the school is the first of the district&amp;rsquo;s construction projects subject to a 2016 state law that caps the amount that can be spent on new educational facilities.&lt;br /&gt;The cap applies even if a school is funded from local revenue sources, like Volusia County&amp;rsquo;s half-cent sales tax. &lt;br /&gt;The new plans were unanimously approved at the Aug. 28 meeting of the Volusia County School Board.&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;” id=”f9a27d0e-7104-4226-8949-28b4ac0f9677″ style-type=”info” title=”What will it look like?” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

Plans for a new school building to replace the aging George Marks Elementary School in DeLand have gotten a nod from the Volusia County School Board.

However, before the students can enjoy the benefits of a new, more modern building, students will have to spend a school year in a “portable village” — a makeshift campus made up of more than two dozen temporary, trailer-like structures.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;$19.5 million&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;The estimated cost of the new George Marks Elementary School.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;28&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;The number of trailer-like portable classrooms students will spend the 2019-20 school year in, while the new building is constructed.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;20 to 25&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;New parking spaces expected to result from the construction project. The drop-off lane will be isolated from the parking area, preventing problems with people backing cars out into the driving lane.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;10 and 12&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;The only buildings that will be saved from demolition at George Marks, along with the current media center, which will be converted into music and art spaces.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;1956&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;The year the George Marks Elementary School was built.&lt;/p&gt;” id=”89a30baf-25af-4c64-8ce3-baf04f6e28a1″ style-type=”info” title=”BY THE NUMBERS” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

The portable-centric proposal is a shift from the district’s original plans for replacing the school, which was built in 1956.

The main new building, which was to be built off to the side of the campus to allow older buildings to remain in use during construction, will be built in the middle of the campus, instead.

The new school is slated to open in August 2020, if all goes to plan. That means students would attend the “portable village” school for the 2019-20 school year.

Saralee Morrissey, director of facilities for Volusia County Schools, explained that originally, the goal was to keep the current school operational while the new facility was being built on land just to the east.

“Ultimately, after about six months, we said that functionally, this was not going to work,” she said. “There were a number of problems that we were having with it. … You’ve got way, way too much development in a very small area.”

The new school building would have had to been squeezed onto the eastern end of the site, along North Garfield Avenue. The site the school sits on is hilly, presenting further challenges, Morrissey explained, such as with stormwater drainage.

“We’ve got considerable change-of-grade on that site, and honestly, as the facilities staff, we absolutely underestimated what the challenges would be with that,” she said.

The team decided it was time for a new plan — one that involves razing all but three buildings on the site.

“The feedback we got … from all stakeholders was very positive,” said Morrissey. “In fact, they like this plan better. … At the end of the day, when everything is done, the school is sitting where it looks like the school belongs. It’s smack dab in the middle.”

Demolition of most of the current campus will begin at the end of the current school year.

Twenty-eight portables will be required, Morrissey currently figures, including classrooms, restrooms and administrative space.


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