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Groundbreaking held for new Long Co. school
Members of the Long County Board of Education, along with several other guests, ceremonially break ground for a new high school Monday in Ludowici. - photo by Mikee Riddle

The Long County Board of Education had a groundbreaking ceremony for a new high school Monday.

The school, which will be 154,000 square feet with occupancy for 800 students, is scheduled to be completed in August 2013.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters welcomed the group of about 30 people, and then introduced architect Craig Buckley and construction manager Bill Vickery.

“When we first knew that we were building a school in Long County, we thought we would be constructing what we call a shade-and-shelter minimum, but this board hasn’t done that. They have provided you with an outstanding and quality built school that will last a hundred years,” Buckley said.

Buckley also said the school would have natural lighting in the common area and the gymnasium, a dinner theater with different levels of seating, superior flooring and interior bricking.“The bottom line is, that the best that we could come up with (for a school) is being built here,” he said.

te-Merge UpVickery praised both the new school and the board of education.

“When this school is completed, it will be an icon in this area, and these students will have a special building … Without any inhibitions, I can say that the Long County Board of Education is the best board that we have worked with,” Vickery said.

Board Chairman Dempsey Golden told the crowd he was glad such a fine school could be built, but that he was even gladder that it could be built under budget.

“When this school is completed, it will be in budget, and that is a result of the board working diligently with that goal in mind … It also will be paid for in full, with the exception of what we raise from the 1 percent sales tax,” Golden said.

“I’m so glad to be getting our students out of a building that is older than I am,” he added.

Waters said that the total costs of the school will be around $19.1 million, but that $15 million had already been acquired.  He said that $9.1 million came from state/fast-forward-funding, $3 million came from capital outlay funds and $2.9 million came from remediation funds from the cancelled brigade not coming to Fort Stewart.  

Waters said that the remaining balance of $5 million would be generated through the ESPLOST sales tax over a 15-year bond.
State Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, also was on hand for the ceremony and pledged his continued support.

“For small counties like Long County, it is tough to raise the money needed to build a new school … The board has done a good job of getting everything together to build this school, and I will help them in any way that I can to finish the project,” Williams said.

Other members of the Board of Education who were present included Linda DeLoach, Billy Hall and Emma Strickland.
Vice Chairwoman Florence Baggs was unable to attend.

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