The new $7.5 million, 76,000-square-foot building sits on 42 acres off Colbert Hollow Road.
“The Woodstation community is so excited about this school,” Principal Joan DeRose said. “This is a community school where everyone is welcome.”
About 350-400 Woodstation area students in grades K-5 are expected to enter the building at the opening of classes Aug. 9.
According to the book “Catoosa County Georgia Heritage 1853-1998”, the original Woodstation School was established in 1837 using Bethel Church for classes. In 1919, the school, which was located off Ga. Hwy. 151, expanded to a three-room building.
Barbara Watts taught at Woodstation from 1947-57, before it closed its doors in 1958. She said she and another teacher taught about 60 students in grades 1-7.
“We’re real proud of the new school,” she said. “We never dreamed there would be another school out there.”
Patrick Bales, along with his father, Pat, is the architect of Woodstation Elementary. He said there are about 44 classrooms including four special education rooms, a music room and a spirit store/parent workroom.
DeRose pointed out several of the school’s amenities during a Catoosa County Board of Education tour on Thursday.
“It’s beautiful,” school board member Garland Nance said.
Each classroom will have three computers and its own sink, and every hallway will have a copy machine, DeRose said.
The school also features two playgrounds — one for grades K-2 and one for grades 3-5 — which are still under construction and should be ready a few weeks into the school year, she said.
New books and 12 computers will highlight the library, according to Karen Hannah, Woodstation media specialist.
“As far as technology goes it’s state-of-the-art,” she said.
DeRose said the cafeteria, dubbed “The Dining Room,” will heavily promote nutrition and good manners.
The Bales design team said they try to tweak each new school they build for maximum efficiency, and Woodstation Elementary should be the most energy efficient of all Catoosa schools.
The elder Bales has designed every school in Catoosa County since Tiger Creek Elementary School in the mid-1980s.
Pat said the majority of the school is constructed with autoclave aerated concrete, which should reduce heating and cooling costs by 20-25 percent over traditional building material.
He said the aerated blocks are created by using a special mixture of sand, cement and lime fired under pressure, which creates air bubbles throughout the entire concrete block that allow air to breathe through it, so it holds temperature better. He said it takes about eight hours to register a temperature change in the block.
The architect said that cost-wise the concrete is comparable to traditional building materials.
“It’s just beginning to be used, but it’s just like geothermal technology — very few are willing to take that step,” he said.
Like Ringgold and Battlefield Primary schools, Woodstation does boast a geothermal heating and cooling system, which has 70 underground wells utilizing the earth’s own natural heat source.
“You’re basically taking heat and dumping it into the earth during the summer and moving heat out of the ground and into the building during the winter,” Patrick said.
He said the geothermal system is complemented by a catwalk through all the main corridors of the school, which makes maintenance easier.
Bales added that the roof of the activities building is a tectum roof which is more acoustically pleasing than a metal roof.
Bonnie Safley, Catoosa Schools food service manager, said the kitchen at Woodstation is also an improved design. She said it features dry and cold storage immediately on the left and right of the kitchen’s back entrance and a hand washing area strategically placed before you enter the streamlined kitchen.
“You have to think about how the food flows,” she said.
Head custodian Tom Hickman, who formerly cleaned the halls at Boynton Elementary, and two others are now in charge of keeping the much larger Woodstation school spic and span.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s also fun,” he said.
“We have an excellent staff,” DeRose said. “I guarantee this school is going to be wonderful.