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'Change is exciting:' The plan for the new Peach County High School

Since 1974, Peach County High students have reported to their campus off Highway 341, but that should change soon.

PEACH COUNTY, Ga. — Chandra Thomas graduated from Peach County High School in 1988. She came back as a counselor 12 years ago.

"What's really interesting, in our counseling department, our counseling department has always had people that graduated from here since I've been here. All of our counselors have graduated from Peach County High School," says Thomas.

Thomas says times have changed since her days as a student -- the 55-year-old building is in need of some upgrades.

Principal Ken Hartley is also a Peach County High School graduate, and he says safety is a top priority.

"There's eight different buildings -- our kids have to leave to actually leave the building, whereas the new high school is a pinwheel design, so they'll get there in the morning, they won't leave the building until they get done in the afternoon," he says.

Hartley says safety becomes more difficult with over 60 entrances on campus.

"The designers back in 1974 didn't deal with issues that we're dealing with now. Of course, all the school shootings, it seems like every time you turn around, you hear of another school shooting here in the United States," says Hartley.

The school will go from this current eight building design to one with a central lobby and hallways branching off.

Credit: Peach County High School

This new school will cost about $30 million total, $16.8 million coming from the 2015 ESPLOST. This includes the latest technology and science labs.

Hartley says, "The equipment is outdated. We have the best kids in the state of Georgia and we want to give them the best resources we can for them to be successful."

He says they hope to be in the new building by fall 2021. 

School officials plan to save the main Peach County High School building and find a new use. They also hope to find buyers for the other buildings.

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