For the first time since the Straley Avenue building opened as an elementary school in 1981, Straley students will have a place to play basketball and indoor soccer, dance, jump rope, and do exercises. They will also have a place to gather for assemblies, concerts, and programs, and that place will not be the school cafeteria!
Employees of Fredeking Stafford Construction are within 2 weeks of completing a multipurpose building adjacent to Straley School. The new student center houses a large gymnasium, office, storage rooms, kitchen, and girls’ and boys’ restrooms.
According to George Corvin, Clerk of Works for the project, crews are presently installing basketball goals and supports. “Within a week or ten days, the flooring should be down, and we’ll be finished,” he said.
Straley principal, Gayle Mills, sees “endless possibilities” for the building. In addition to indoor sports, the new facility will be a much better location for performances, PTO meetings, staff development, and community events. 
“We want to showcase our kids a lot more,” she said, “and bring the parents and community in to see them.” In the past, the school’s only venues for meetings were the cafeteria or a classroom. “Classroom space was too small,” she said, “and the acoustics in the cafeteria were terrible.”
Mills said the school had a “soft opening” in June when they used the unfinished building for graduation exercises. An official opening will be held when teachers return to the classroom in August. “Concord will provide refreshments,” she said, “and we want to invite the community in to see the building.”  
Funding to cover the building’s price tag – around $850,000—has come from a variety of sources including PTO fundraisers, Mercer County Schools, and a generous donation from the H.P. and Anne S. Hunnicutt Foundation. 
To stay within budget, original drawings were modified, slightly reducing the length of the building, repositioning it closer to Straley School, and foregoing the brick exterior. 
Mills said bleachers as well as a public address system were on the wish list. “We have portable seating right now – 200 folding chairs—but the PTO would like to finish what we would need to purchase bleachers.”