THOMASVILLE — Harper Elementary School students could be getting lunch in a new cafeteria when the 2019-20 year starts August 5.

Ground was broken for the cafeteria, which is nearly 7,000 square feet and costs more than $1.5 million, last fall.

“The building is basically done,” said Ross New, the city school system’s director of operations. “We were hoping it would be ready by the end of school.”

New said they were waiting on delivery of the appliances. The freezer has been put up and is ready to go, he added. The appliances are expected to be in no later than July. New said once the appliances are delivered, it will take a couple of weeks to get them in place.

The system also is waiting on delivery of furniture for the new cafeteria. 

The driveway and parking lot have been completed, New said.

“Everything is looking good,” he told the city schools athletic and facilities committee Tuesday morning.

The only thing to take from existing kitchen is the dishwasher. Everything else will be brand new, New said.

The old kitchen and cafeteria could become a multi-purpose room.

Renovation and modernization of the rest of Harper likely will not start until after the school year begins, New said. 

Workers will renovate six classrooms at a time, “so we’ll have to move kids around,” New said.

The city school system also received a $150,000 safety grant from the Department of Education.

The school system has added safety and security walls at MacIntyre Park Middle School, Scott Elementary School and Harper. Jerger already has one, and Thomasville High School has a secure entrance. 

At Scholars Academy, security mirrors will be installed. More walkie-talkies have been added for better communication, New said, and the camera systems have been updated so video storage is now at 30 days instead of 10 days. Security fencing also has been improved.

“We’ve been able to do quite a bit with the money,” New said. 

Editor Pat Donahue can be reached at (229) 226-2400 ext. 1806.