Long County School System Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters gave an update on the new high school during Tuesday’s Long County Chamber of Commerce meeting.
During his presentation, Waters told the group that during his four years as the superintendent, he and the board of education continually have dealt with growth issues as the county’s population has increased. Waters said that the new high school will help with this issue. The new school, which is budgeted at around $18 million and is scheduled to be completed in August 2013, will have 43 instructional units/classrooms, cover approximately 154,000 square feet and have an occupancy of 800 students.
Waters added that the gymnasium could hold 1,500 people, and the cafeteria/auditorium will seat between 350-400 people. Waters said that some of the highlights of the new school will be an octagon true band room and a state-of-the-art media center.
The superintendent gave the chamber a PowerPoint presentation that showed the location of the school and the stages of the project up to the day of the meeting. The presentation showed the land prior to it being cleared, the early stages of the clearing, the moving and replacement of topsoil, the silt fence installation and the current roughing-in of the electricity and plumbing.
Waters said that the architectural firm is James W. Buckley and Associates, and the construction manager is Bill Vickery.
Waters also told the group that the school is being built with the possibility of adding an additional four classrooms on to each wing.
The superintendent said that even though there was a lot of excitement about the new high school, efforts also are being made to hold on to the heritage of the past.
“We’re not going to forget where we come from, even though we are looking to the future,” Waters said.
He said that the project is under budget, with the majority of the money for the project coming from ESPLOST and federal funds.
In addition to Waters, board of education Chairman Dempsey Golden and Vice Chairwoman Florence Baggs also were present. Golden spoke after Waters fielded questions from the crowd.
“We are planning to have a first-rate high school here in Long County, but it is important for all of you to know that we are taking good care of your tax money,” Golden said.
Despite difficult economic times, the board of education has not had to raise taxes, Golden said, and the millage rate is the same it was eight years ago.
Golden also said that even though the schools had to implement furloughs in the past, the school calendar year is back up to 180 days annually. Golden said that he and the board are happy with the job that Waters is doing, and that they are pleased with the direction of the school system.
In other business, chamber President Gaynelle Garrason reported that the group will host a public forum June 12 at Long County High School for candidates in the upcoming county election.
Garrason also said that the Relay for Life Fun Run/Walk had been canceled due to a lack of participation.