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story.lead_photo.caption Pleasant Grove's new elementary will be a 70,000-square-foot building that includes 33 full classrooms, a gym, cafeteria, offices, special education space, a media center and four hallways or pods. Artist's rendering courtesy of Lewis Architects

Pleasant Grove Independent School District's Board of Trustees approved plans for the new elementary school following an executive session Tuesday.

The 70,000-square-foot building will include 33 full classrooms, a gym, cafeteria, offices, special education space, a media center and four hallways or pods.

Designed by Lewis Architects of Little Rock, the angular building features a glass wall at the front of the building, in addition to circular windows.

Architect Steve Elliott said they were excited to get started on the building.

He added that they got input from the community on what features they wanted to include in the structure.

"What the community was really interested in was security," he said. "It has vestibules that force you to be buzzed in. Each pod can be locked off. Within the pods, one classroom is a safe room."

Gallery: New Pleasant Grove Elementary School Plans

The safe rooms are actually storm shelters, which the 2015 International Building Code, adopted by the city of Texarkana, Texas, in December 2015, requires to be included in all new school construction. The rooms will be equipped with special water, electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems and will be built to withstand wind speeds up to 250 mph, equivalent to the force of an F-4 tornado.

Interim Superintendent Roger Hailey said now that they have approved an initial design, work can begin on the design of the mechanical and plumbing aspects of the project.

"The goal is to have it open by August 2020," he said. "Once the plans are done, we can get started."

The district will also close on 12.054 acres of land for the new school today. PGISD acquired the land from CHRISTUS Ark-La-Tex through a definitive exchange agreement for 4.35 acres at the current elementary school.

Funds for the new school come from a $19.9 million bond voters approved in May 2018 for the new building, security improvements and technology upgrades.

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