Cape district officials are targeting a spring 2022 opening for the new Lewes Elementary School on Savannah Road.
Known most recently as the Lewes School, the historic 1920s-era building is being renovated, along with modern additions being constructed to house current Shields Elementary students. The Cape school board approved naming the building Lewes Elementary School at its Aug. 19 meeting.
As with recent renovations at Milton Elementary, new wings are being added to the rear of the original building while renovations to the original section, including the gym and auditorium, take place, said Director of Capital Projects Brian Bassett.
“The original building’s date stone is 1921, and I believe 1921-22 was the first school year,” Bassett said. “Hopefully we get to open next spring so it can be during the building’s 100-year anniversary of being a school.”
Construction began in late spring 2020, Bassett said, after a five-month period for asbestos removal and demolition of portions of the old building.
“Bidding this job and constructing it during the COVID period has been a challenge,” Bassett said. “Material delays and crew shortages have made it tough to stay on schedule, but we are making it work.”
Construction was also delayed because Sussex Consortium students who previously attended classes in the building didn’t move into their new school until March 2020, Bassett said.
“The Consortium delay was caused by getting the additional construction funds late that allowed us to build the alternate wings at that site,” Bassett said. “Getting the additional funding was certainly worth the wait.”
The new school will be able to house about 625 to 650 students comfortably, Bassett said. Shields currently has 539 students, said Assistant Superintendent Jenny Nauman, who predicted about 550 students will attend at the new building when it opens.
Asbestos removal and demolition at Shields will begin immediately after the new school opens, Bassett said. Construction will subsequently begin on the district’s third middle school, which was approved by referendum in 2018.