Following a wet summer, construction crews at the forthcoming Ralls County Elementary School took full advantage of dry weather and pleasant temperatures Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Following a wet summer, construction crews at the forthcoming Ralls County Elementary School took full advantage of dry weather and pleasant temperatures Wednesday, Oct. 28.

As construction of the new school neared the midway point, Center Elementary School Principal Marty Hull said he was impressed with construction employees’ efficiency and consistent progress throughout the project. As rooms and hallways rapidly took shape, a special committee led by Superintendent Deanette Jarman examined new technology options and interior aesthetic decisions for the $7.5 million school — which will replace the existing New London Elementary School and Center Elementary School, Hull said.

Teachers visited with Architechnics employees to pick carpet colors and designs for the library and offices from a slew of carpet square samples. On Tuesday, the group narrowed the proposals down to two or three possible designs, Hull said.

During a meeting Wednesday night, teachers examined five new Promethean ActivPanels for potential use in the new school, Hull said. Ralls County R-II teachers already use interactive smart boards in their classrooms. The Promethean panels touchscreen devices are similar to those devices, but they function without an overhead projector. Jarman applied for an e-grant that would provide 80 percent of funding for the new devices.

Jarman also secured a grant to cover most of the cost of equipping Ralls County Elementary School with wireless Internet. The new school will also feature two computer labs and four to five computers in each classroom, Hull said.

At the construction site, employees with Orf Construction and Leonard Masonry worked in nearly every room and hallway, performing tasks including applying mortar between bricks, installing plumbing and hanging electrical components. Near the gymnasium, a bright orange machine transformed a spool of aluminum into sections of siding. In the future Pre-K and Kindergarten wing, an employee used a forklift to dump an enormous bag of Quikrete into a mixer. Outside the front entrance, a circle drive took shape for all of the buses, combined with a separate road and lot for parents, Hull said.

Teachers, parents and students have regularly expressed excitement about the new school, which is set to open July 1, 2016. Hull said the amount of votes in favor of the school’s bond issue reflected the level of enthusiasm among residents in Center, New London and Perry.

Jarman’s committee of teachers, principals and a board member selected a myriad of details for the school, from the color of the tin roofing to flooring options. The group approach “keeps the ideas flowing” for the project, Hull said.

There will be no staff cuts when the new school opens. Because each grade level will be led by three teachers, district officials might hire one or two additional staff members, Hull said.

Construction crews set a goal of covering the entire structure with a roof by winter. Hull said the goal is possible, noting the changes he witnesses each week.

To keep tabs on progress at the school, visit https://sites.google.com/a/rallsr2.k12.mo.us/center-elementary-school/pictures, where Hull regularly posts photographs.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com