By Aila Boyd

After only being able to complete one day’s worth of grading on the new Colonial Elementary School during the month of February, things are finally starting to look up.

Jim Whitten, capital projects manager for Botetourt County, reported last Friday during an Economic Development Authority meeting that the grading contractor, F. Clayton Plecker & Sons, is “making a lot of progress.”

He explained that they received the go-ahead from the geotechnical engineer to work on the grading.

“They are going to town,” he said of the work that the grading contractor is doing, adding that additional people were hired to work on the site.

He added that 12 pieces of equipment were being operated at the site that day.

“Everything is lining up so far,” he explained.

The entire build, start to finish, is estimated to take 16 months.

Whitten reported that so far, the piece of land where the school will eventually be built on has come up seven feet. By the end of the grading process, it should be raised by 20 feet.

As previously reported, the process of compressing dirt requires several steps. Whitten said that on average, six inches of dirt is compressed at a time.

Seven general contractors submitted materials during the recent screening process, which was used to determine whether or not the contractors were capable of completing the project. Out of the seven, Whitten explained, questions were raised about two of them.

The process for selecting a general contractor will take place in the near future.

The plan is for the school to open at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.