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(WBIR - Knox County) The race is on to finish a new elementary school before Knox County students walk through the doors.

On August 12, more than 900 students will start classes at the new Northshore Elementary on Thunderhead Road in Southwest Knox County.

"We're in the process right now of putting finishing touches on the inside," said Doug Dillingham, Knox County Schools supervisor for facilities and construction.

Dillingham said at about 128,000 square feet, the school will be one of the largest for the district.

Security is a main focus, with a secure vestibule in place at the front of the building.

"Anyone who comes into the school has to come in through the main entrance. The only route is through the reception area so that is a standard design for us now in all our new facilities," Dillingham said.

The project is estimated to cost more than $20 million. It includes a stage in the gym for productions, an art room, two music rooms, and a cafeteria.

"It's been a great process," said Susan Davis, principal for Northshore Elementary. Davis has already met some of the K-5 students.

"It's one of the best experiences I've ever had. I love relationships; I love people of all ages and I especially love the children and working with the team of staff we're putting together," Davis said.

There will be 36 classroom teachers, with an extended staff of at least 48.

While the building will be safe for students by August 12, there may still be some crews, with limited access, finishing the project after that date.

"The architect and engineers and our personnel go around and point out the little nicks and things they see that need to be fixed," Dillingham said.

A ribbon cutting will take place at Northshore Elementary on August 8 at 10 a.m. An open house will follow from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with another later in the evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The next day, on August 9, a ribbon cutting will take place at Carter Elementary at 10 a.m.

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