CLINTON ? Visitors can hear the sounds of heavy machinery, smell varnish and freshly cut wood and observe dozens of craftsmen installing Sheetrock and plumbing fixtures.

They are completing jobs that will make the new Jefferson Elementary School a building the community can be proud of.

It?s an especially sweet sight for Clinton School District Superintendent Randy Clegg and Jefferson Principal Michelle Pearson. Every day brings the school one step closer to being completed.

But the Jefferson dress code still requires hard hats and will continue to do so for several weeks. Clegg said the original schedule stated the building had to be completed July 1.

But the location of a surcharge used to compact the soil at the site in the early part of construction set the time schedule back and the board approved a no cost change order at the February board meeting extending the completion date to July 31.

Now Clegg is looking at a completion date of Oct. 5, with students hopefully sitting at their desks in December. And there is still a lot of work to be done.

Jefferson ?watchers? will notice the school signage went up on July 1 and much of the concrete driveway has been poured. According to Clegg, the masonry and flat concrete work is done and the electrical system is basically wired, but there are hundreds of projects still on the ?to do? list, including Sheetrock and painting, not to mention the general cleanup of the 84,000 square-foot building.

Clegg told the Clinton Herald during a recent tour that the installation of the geothermal heating and cooling system will save the taxpayers thousands of dollars.

?The estimated cost of heat and air conditioning will be $700 a year. It costs the district $30,000 a year to heat the old Jefferson,? he said.

Clegg said electrical costs will remain about the same as the current cost, which is $30,000 to $35,000 per year.

Another new feature will be floor-to-ceiling bulletin boards. Most of the classroom walls will be covered with ?tack? wallcovering instead of paint.

Visual aids and student art can be put anyplace on a wall with push-pins.

?The stuff works great,? Clegg aid. ?I was in a building where they had this stuff (wall covering) and it lasted 10 years.?

A lot of work has been completed in the learning resource center since the Herald?s last visit.

The walls to the computer lab have been erected and abundant light fills the two-story room. Students will be able to look down into the learning resource center from a glassed-in, second-story hallway.

Approximately 370 students attend Jefferson.

The new building was built with four units in mind but will remain a three-unit building until the district?s Boundary Task Force Committee reports its findings.

Pearson says that the moment the building is ready, she and her staff will be ready to move.

She thinks the students already know they won?t be in the new building on the first day of school, Aug. 25.

But Pearson patiently waits.

?It?s not only going to be the most beautiful school in the city ? it?s going to be the most beautiful building,? she said. ?It will be there for the entire community to share.?

Jefferson is the first new school built in Clinton in 36 years.

The total cost of the building is projected to be $11 million, which is funded with dollars from the Local Option Sales Tax and a $1 million Harkin School Construction Grant.