The Long County Board of Education learned during its Feb. 5 meeting that the required deceleration lane for the new high school will be built at no additional cost to taxpayers.
County Commission Chairman Bobby Walker told the BoE that, on behalf of the commission, he had provided the necessary paperwork to the Georgia Department of Transportation, and it wrote a check to the BoE for $150,000. Walker said that the estimated total cost for the deceleration lane is $215,000, but that the remaining $65,000 worth of work will be provided by in-kind labor from the county and the BoE.
Walker said that with the county providing the prep work for the project and with fees that the BoE already had paid for its engineer, he did not think that any more money would have to be paid for the additional work.
“I don’t care who we are — whether it is the county, or city, or someone else — everyone has someone in their family in one of our schools,” Walker said.
All of the BoE members thanked Walker and the other commissioners for the assistance, and the consensus was that more joint projects between entities like the BoE, the city and the county were good for Long County and Ludowici.
Also at the meeting, Sheriff Craig Nobles reported on a recent school-safety drill at Smiley Elementary School. He said that in light of the recent shootings at a Connecticut school, he and his department are doing all they can to assist area schools in preventing a similar attack in Long County. Nobles said the drill went well, with the kids and the teachers being able to hide discreetly.
Nobles added that his department is creating a special-response team for an emergency like the incident in Connecticut. Four team members always would be stationed in the courthouse, so preparedness would be high. Nobles said that his entire department would go through a training program with Camden County starting next month.
Nobles also reported that his department had exceeded its budget for specialized equipment and that he would appreciate any help that the BoE could provide. BoE Chairman Dempsey Golden said that the board would do all that it could to help.
“Our kids are the most important thing we have, and we certainly want to protect them,” Nobles said.
In other business, the BoE:
• approved keeping “Walker” in the intermediate school’s new name, which will be the area for the fourth and fifth grades once the high school is built. According to Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters, the future middle school will serve sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.
• approved the five-year local facility plan.
• heard a report from Waters that the additional sewer and water lines for the new high school are on schedule.
• approved a budget workshop for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25.