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New elementary school for South Bryan
bryan county schools Bigger

The Bryan County Schools Board of Education will vote Thursday night to give Superintendent Paul Brooksher authorization to request site approval for a new elementary school in South Bryan County.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the district’s administration building in Black Creek.

Brooksher said the new elementary school, slated to open in August 2020, is part of the district’s 10-year capital projects plan that also includes a new high school and middle school in South Bryan. Those schools are projected to open in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

Plans call for the new elementary school, to be built to house 1,200 students, to be located in the vicinity of the current Richmond Hill Middle School off Belfast River Road. Brooksher said the district has a memorandum of understanding with Rayonier to obtain the property.

As was the case with the opening of McAllister Elementary School in 2015, the district will have to determine attendance boundaries for the new school.

“That is the new normal for as fast as we are growing,” Brooksher said. “We’ll have to do the same thing when the new middle school comes on line.”

The district anticipates that overall enrollment will increase by some 3,500 students over the next decade.

Brooksher pointed to a new 280-unit apartment complex being built on Highway 144 near Timber Trail as an example of why the district is growing so rapidly.

“A new subdivision might add 30 or so new homes in a 16- to 18-month period,” he said. “Multi-family construction like those apartments will add hundreds of units in the same time frame.”

Brooksher added that the district has to apply for the site approval from the Georgia Department of Education so that an environmental study can be conducted.

The new school, however, will not be patterned after McAllister, which was built along with the new Bryan County Elementary School from existing plans.

“We’ll be using a different architect for this and it will be designed from the ground up,” he said.

Construction will take 16 to 18 months once the site prep is done, Brooksher said, whereas the new high school will take 24 months of actual construction time due to the size of the building, athletic fields and other considerations.

Voters approved a $100 million bond and renewed the E-SPLOST in February for the district to help pay for the new schools. Money also will come from the state.

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