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Concerned parents react to possible changes to junior high school

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 12:23 PM EST
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MOULTRIE, Ga. (WALB) - Nearly 100 concerned parents and family members met at C.A. Gray High School in Moultrie to talk about its future as a school.

The Colquitt County School System is undergoing a master facilities plan. They’re working with a group of architects who toured their schools finding what campuses needed upgrading.

One of those was Charlie A. Gray Junior High School, a school sandwiched in the middle of a residential area.

The school is considering three options, do nothing to the current campus, rebuild on the current site or rebuild at a new site. They’re still debating on locations but leaning toward the school system’s high school, options many people had concerns about.

“Personally, as a grandmother, I don’t think I want to see my 8th-grade boy or girl by high schoolers,” said one grandparent.

“I’m here to tell you this community does not want to see CA Gray moved. There’s history here.”

“If you move the school and they have to become transported by bus I think you are creating a massive problem. A dropout problem because if our children are going to be bussed, they have to be ready at 6:30 in the morning.”

The reason they’re going through this process is because the state requires a school to have a certain amount of acreage to support the number of kids on campus.

Another reason is safety. Leah Jones the Vice President Altman Barrett Architects said doors on a classroom connected to the outside create a safety hazard.

“That is why you do not see open plans where kids are walking outside all the time with all these exterior doors outside anymore in 2022,” said Jones.

The superintendent of the school system, Ben Wiggins made a point to say this master plan is still in its early stages, and no decisions have been made.

As a part of their master plan, they are also looking to do some minor renovations to Willie J. Williams Middle School. In addition, they were looking at making a new Norman Park Elementary, but because of the surplus of elementary schools they have, that’s not on the table anymore.

We will keep you updated on this process.

The school system wants feedback from parents at Colquitt County Schools

Here’s what you need to know:

  • C.A. Gray Junior High School, Willie J. Williams Middle School and Norman Park Elementary have been identified as the schools with the greatest need for improvements.
  • A new location for C.A. Gray Junior High School has not been decided if the school is rebuilt. If moved, the school will retain its name. A decision on if the school will continue to house eighth and ninth grade students has not been made if rebuilt in a new location. There are multiple options for locating the school if the school is rebuilt.
  • There are no specific plans yet on replacing lost classroom space if three wings are removed from Willie J. Williams Middle School.
  • Altman and Barrett is the architect firm over the project. In 2021, the firm reviewed all Colquitt County Schools facilities to come up with a master plan for improvement.
  • Teachers will be able to give input on the process.
  • The project timeline is contingent on the current ESPLOST, or education special purpose local option sales tax, which runs until September 2023. There has not been a decision on the next ESPLOST vote, but the school district has until May 2023 to decide.
  • The earliest any renovation work can begin is summer 2024.

The first meeting was held in January.

Tune in to WALB News 10 at 6 p.m. for a live look into Thursday’s meeting and again at 11 p.m. for the outcome of tonight’s meeting.

Copyright 2022 WALB. All rights reserved.

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