New elementary schools proposed for Bibb

Georgia law requires school districts to maintain and submit five year plans for all of their buildings. Those plans help districts apply for state funds for improvements and construction.

Last year, the Bibb School Board asked for a one-year extension of its 2009 to 2013 plan to give them more time to create a new one.

Monday night, the school board heard what the district came up with.

One recommendation includes reopening two schools that were phased out in 2009, Jones and Porter. Instead, the district suggests phasing out Burghard and King-Danforth. The next step would include building four new elementary schools, each designed to hold 750 students.

The first school would be Heard Elementary, which is already under way. The second would be built where King-Danforth is currently located. It would house students from King-Danforth and Bernd. That project would have to wait until July 2014 to be eligible for state funding.

Next, the district recommends consolidating Morgan and Riley schools and building a new campus where Morgan is located. That is scheduled for July 2015.

The last proposed addition includes combining Barden, Burghard, and Rice elementary schools into a new building. The district says another option would be putting students from those three schools into the Bloomfield Middle building. Bloomfield Middle students would then attend Ballard-Hudson Middle.

The district would need more than $14 million from the state to complete the first three schools. The cost of the fourth has not been determined.

However, Director of Capital Programs Jason Daniels says completing all of the projects would save the district nearly $1.75 million a year.

The school board plans to hold a community input meeting at the beginning of 2014 and is scheduled to vote on the plan January 16th.

Also at Monday's meeting, the school board toured the historic Ballard-Hudson building on Anthony Road, now converted into the Promise Center.

Central Georgia Technical College rents part of the building from the Central Georgia Partnership for Individual and Community Development.

The school turned its space into a student activity center, complete with basketball court, locker rooms, and adult education centers.

The Bibb school district rents half of the building, but most of that is still unfinished.

Clifford Whitby with the Promise Neighborhood program says the space was supposed to house early childhood education programs, but the federal government did not give the district a grant needed to complete the project.

School Board Chair Wanda West says the district will sit down with Promise Neighborhood leaders over the next few months to map out a revised plan for the project.


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