CHESAPEAKE CITY — Crews are beginning site work on the new Chesapeake City Elementary School, according to Perry Willis, CCPS executive director of support services.

Willis told the Cecil Whig there will not be a formal groundbreaking ceremony, but that crews will officially be breaking ground on the site later this month or next month.

“Summer is hard to get everybody together,” he said. “We did a groundbreaking for Gilpin Manor, but we did that because it was the first new building since 1991. So we thought we’d just go ahead and move forward with this one.”

In the meantime, Willis said the contractor, Mullan Contracting Co., will be doing preparatory work such as stormwater management and plotting the building layout.

According to Willis, CCPS expects to complete construction in time for students to attend school in the new Chesapeake City Elementary building for the 2021-2022 school year.

The school is currently located just over the C&D Canal on the south-side of town on 3rd Street. The new building, however, will be built farther down Augustine Herman Highway between the fire station and the Bohemia Manor middle and high school complex.

The new Chesapeake City Elementary will add more than 20,000 square feet to the school’s current footprint of just over 42,000 square feet.

Its floor plan will be modeled off of Gilpin Manor Elementary School, which opened the doors to its new building at the beginning of last school year, becoming the county’s first entirely new public school building in nearly 30 years.

Before Gilpin Manor Elementary School, Cecil County Public Schools had not built a school from scratch since 1991 when Rising Sun High School and Elk Neck Elementary School were built.

The only difference between the Gilpin Manor and Chesapeake City elementary schools’ interiors is that Chesapeake City Elementary will not have a computer lab. Instead, Chromebooks will be used in classrooms, and the square footage that was originally set aside for the computer lab will be added onto the media center/library area, according to Willis.

The exterior of Chesapeake City Elementary will look different, with nods to the nautical environment around the school such as a bridge-like structure on top of the building that will represent the Chesapeake City Bridge that carries Route 213 over the canal.

CCPS received $4 million from the state and $4 million from the county as part of its Fiscal Year 2020 budget to get the ball rolling on construction of the new Chesapeake City Elementary School.

When CCPS sent its designs for Chesapeake City Elementary to state officials to review the project in November 2018, they sent two plans: a base plan and an alternative plan with four additional classrooms, depending on the projected size of the school’s student population.

Willis said after receiving such favorable bids on the project, CCPS decided to move forward with the four additional classrooms.

“I think it’s going to be a real exciting project,” Willis said. “I think that we got a really good contractor. It’s the same one that did Gilpin. It was a very competitive bid, and we’re looking forward to two years worth of construction. Hopefully everything will go well.”

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