SNEADS FERRY | The new Dixon Middle School project is on track to open as scheduled for the 2017-2018 school year.

Onslow County Schools officials said construction of the new school is now about 60 percent complete and based on the remaining work to be done the $28.5 million project should be completed on time and within budget.

“The project looks great and I know the people here in the Dixon area are going to be excited to have a new school as the area continues to grow,” said OCS Superintendent Rick Stout during a brief stop at the project site Wednesday morning.

The new school on a 40-acres site off N.C. 210 will serve approximately 1,000 students and replace the aging middle school at the corner of U.S. 17 and N.C. 210 with a capacity of only about 650 students.

“We know there is a purpose and a need (for this school),” Stout said.

Steve Myers, the school district’s chief of operations, presented an update on the project for the Onslow County Board of Education during its Tuesday night meeting.

Myers said much work has been done since the last update in March, including slab floors poured on the foundation, interior and exterior concrete block being laid for the project, roofing nearly complete, athletic fields graded and seeded, the installation of mechanical systems and ongoing site work such as the new Ridgefield Ave. on which the school is located.

Myers noted during the meeting that the North Carolina Department of Transportation has notified the school system that a new stoplight is warranted for the new school entrance at N.C. 210 and Ridgefield Ave.

Construction site superintendent Ray Jenkins said Thursday that the project is now in a “transitional phase” with the roof 90 percent complete and the move to more interior work soon to begin.

“It will give us an opportunity to some finishing work inside,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins is with Clancy & Theys Construction and the architect for the project is Smith Sinnett Architecture.

Myers said when the project is in “dry-in” phase, with permanent power, heating and air conditioning, the crew will be able to work inside throughout the winter months. The project should be at that point no later than November.

With that in mind, Myers said the school staff should be working in the school by next summer.

“Staff should be working here next summer and school is scheduled to open in August 2017,” Myers said.

The middle school will open with 5th through 8th grades housed together and Myers said meetings were held with facility planners and school staff to discuss how the classrooms would be laid out.

Fifth and sixth graders will be located on the first floor, with seventh and eighth grade classrooms on the second floor.

The school includes 48 classrooms, with 37 of those for core curriculum classes, and another 14 resource classrooms.

Myers’ presentation was for information only and no action was taken during the meeting.

In other items at Tuesday night’s meeting, Associate Superintendent for Instructional Services Lesley Eason gave a presentation on student success transition planning. The state no longer requires Personal Education Plans for individual students; instead, legislation is now requiring transition plans for students at risk to assist with their transition between grades.

With the new requirements, the school board approved revisions to three policies to update the language.