Colquitt-- The $18.7 million building will be the first K-12 school built in Georgia in the last 20 years, according to the architect for the project.
With just over 1100 students, the Miller county school system is one of the smallest in the state. None of the buildings have been updated in years, and its starting to show. "My nephew and my nieces are attending the same school that my dad graduated from way back in the early 1950s," said school board member Sheila Freeman.
Superintendent Robbie Phillips added, "when you're working with buildings that are over 50 years old, you don't have the capacity to handle a lot of the technological equipment that we have in schools today."
After years of planning to find a way to do it, the school board broke ground today on what will be a building more appropriate for students in the 21st century. "It's just time. It's time for us to move on be progressive and have new facilities for them just like all the other counties are doing in the state," said Freeman.
Miller countians overwhelmingly agreed. "We had to have a $9.1 million bond passed, and a SPLOST to pay for that bond, and they voted by over 90% vote in both instances to give us the money to build the school," explained Phillips.
Right now the middle and high schools are joined together while the elementary school is separated on the other side of town. The hope is by putting all three schools on the same site it will significantly cut down transportation costs. "Also, long term savings that we're foreseeing is that we'll have one principal for the entire school system," says Freeman.
School board members say they'd like to give their students a school they can be proud of. "I hope they will see that our community thought enough of them and those people who work in those school buildings to give them a new school," said Phillips.
The new school will be nearly 150 thousand square feet and should be open in the next 2 years. School board members say they'll recieve around $12 million from the state to help complete the project.