School system looks for new space - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School system looks for new space

March 23, 2004

Valdosta - Lowndes County students are quickly outgrowing their classrooms. "We're reaching the maximum capacity we feel suitable for our schools," said Superintendent Dr. Steve Smith.

Dr. Smith says Lowndes High Schools's ideal capacity is about 1,800 students. But the number of enrolled students has far surpassed that amount. "For Lowndes High School we had 2,588," said Smith.

An average Lowndes County middle school should hold about 1,100 students. Several schools are nearing, or already over the limit. "For Lowndes Middle we had 1,056 and for Hahira Middle was had 1,186," said Smith.

You can see how fast the schools are growing by looking at all the real estate development around town. Dr. Smith says more and more families are making their homes in Lowndes County. "It's a wonderful community to raise a family in and I think that word has spread through the United States," said Smith.

So what's being done to accommodate the increase in students? Construction is set to begin this summer on several classroom additions. "We are expanding Hahira Elementary School by six classrooms, we're expanding Moulton Branch Elementary by eight classrooms," said Smith.

The school board is also considering building a new Parker Mathis Elementary School. "That would increase our capacity for elementary schools by 350 students," said Smith.

And long term plans could include creating a 9th Grade Academy on the Westside Campus and a Fine Arts Magnet School at Valdosta State University.

posted at 3:55 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com