Construction on the new parking lot continues at Fillmore Central Elementary School in Preston. The project is expected to be completed prior to school resuming in September. BRETTA GRABAU/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP
Construction on the new parking lot continues at Fillmore Central Elementary School in Preston. The project is expected to be completed prior to school resuming in September. BRETTA GRABAU/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP

The new school year is set to begin in just a little over a week and both students and teachers prepare for the upcoming school year, buying school supplies or preparing for their first lessons of the year. Sports teams have been practicing for the past few weeks to usher in the new school year and the new sports season.

At the same time, both Fillmore Central sites in Preston and Harmony continue to undergo renovations and construction. The hope is that the projects will be fully completed before school starts on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

"We got kind of a late start but hopefully all projects that are currently underway will be completed in August. Probably the biggest questions are with the parking lot in Preston," explained Superintendent Richard Keith.

At Preston, the rainy weather at the beginning of the summer did not impact much of the construction, except for the drainage crew working in the parking lot.

"They started pretty much on time and the construction is going pretty well. We have made good progress on the project," stated Chris Mensink, dean of students at Fillmore Central.

Over the past few months, the big project to be completed in Preston was working on expanding the parking lot so the flow of the traffic would not be so congested at high-traffic times, such as drop-off and pick-up times.

The plan so far has been on schedule, though it is cutting the goal very close to the first day of school. According to Mensink and Keith, the plan is to have the curbs, gutters and sidewalks completed this week. The asphalt of the elementary parking area will be laid down during the later part of the last week of August before school begins.

At the high school site in Harmony, the parking lot area is also due to be resurfaced yet this summer. Keith mentioned that it will be resurfaced soon, and since he hopes all the construction projects will be completed prior to the start of school, that parking project should also be done.

There were other aspects to the construction and renovation projects for Fillmore Central this summer as well. Workers have been installing a much-needed sprinkler system.

"At the high school, the new sprinkler system is progressing well and installation of ceilings will follow," Keith noted.

With the start of sports practices for the next year, preparation for the gyms has already been completed. The school recently obtained new scoreboards for the gym. Both of these have been successfully installed.

"The gyms are ready, so the kids are able to practice for their sports," Mensink said.

Students may wander into a "new" looking gym with the scoreboards, the gym walls sporting a new color and the new sports banners decorating the ceiling.

Not long before the rainy weather turned to dry weather, workers put in a new waterline for the football field. It has been very useful over the past few weeks as the ground needs a good soaking.

Finally, a couple of the more noticeable changes at the high school include the electronic sign that was put up earlier this summer and the street project to the west of the building.

"Yet to be completed, but hopefully in time for the start of school, is the street project west of the building which includes the sidewalk," Keith related.

Back at the elementary school in Preston, the project converting the old science lab into two rooms is underway.

"The crew in the lab is laying the floor and painting. They should be done in no time."

Also at the elementary school, a couple new windows are getting installed, Keith related.

Fillmore Central bought two new electronic signs for the school over the past year. As previously stated, the sign in Harmony is already up and running. Preston's one-sided sign has yet to be erected, but Mensink hopes it will be in place this week, though its Internet connection may not yet be established.

With the new school year comes many changes for the Fillmore Central School District, but the district will be ready to welcome students inside the schools when the bells ring on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

"It will be nip and tuck with getting everything done, but the project should be complete the week before school starts," declared Mensink.