SHELLMAN, GA (WALB) - An abandoned school will soon have new life.
The state just approved a new public charter school in Shellman after denying it a year ago.
It will open next year in a closed private school.
Students will soon fill the empty halls and classrooms at the Old Randolph Southern School for a new Charter School in Shellman after being approved by the State Charter Commission yesterday.
"Last year we left there with tears of disappointment and this year it was tears of joy," said Joyce Blanton, Chairman of SOWEGA STEM Charter Board.
For Two and a half years the SOWEGA STEM Board worked to build interest from the community. Their charter was denied by the State last year, but they refused to give up.
"We came back brokenhearted and talked about giving up but we knew that the children of this community needed a choice," said Blanton.
Two Years ago, Randolph Southern School shut down due to financial problems.
"We've had a lot of people that have left the area that I think the school would've kept them here," Paul Langford, Mayor and Vice Chairman of SOWEGA STEM School
It will be replaced by the SOWEGA STEM Charter School with a strong emphasis on high tech and math skills.
"We need to key in on that because we don't want to lose those jobs as well," said Blanton.
"It will be a good tool for us to attract industry that we have a choice in schools," said Langford.
Blanton will serve as Headmaster for the school opening with 264 students K through 5. The charter is for five years adding a grade each year. They will also reapply for a high school.
"We are a public school of choice," said Blanton.
Interviews for teachers will be held early next year. Blanton and Langford are grateful for the donation of the building from Randolph Southern. The School will open in September 2016.