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Growth, numbers, forums

Editor’s note: This is another installment in an ongoing series of stories examining growth in Bryan County.

Bryan County Schools has an enrollment of more than 9,600 students now.

That number is expected to more than double over the next 10 years or so, according to the school’s top appointed official, Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher.

Brooksher was speaking at Tuesday morning’s community forum, which was organized by the Richmond Hill Bryan County Chamber of Commerce and held at the City Center.

His estimate, if projections hold true, was almost 21,000 students by 2028.

The system is currently building a new elementary school in South Bryan, a process that Brooksher said takes between five to six years from the realization that a new school is needed until it’s reality.

The new elementary will be the third school to be built in the past seven years in a radius of about six miles - joining McAllister Elementary, which was finished in 2015, and Richmond Hill Middle School, which opened for classes in 2012. The three schools cost more than $66 million.

Bryan’s booming school system wasn’t the only growth-related topic of discussion for leaders at Tuesday’s forum, which was moderated by Ralph Forbes and included participants from various governments and others in a panel.

“The Chamber’s Board of Directors wanted to host a Community Forum so our partners (Bryan County, City of RH, Pembroke, DABC, Visitors Bureau, GDOT and Bryan County Schools) could have an opportunity to communicate to the business community and others about the developments of the past year and what are strategic plans for the future,” RHBC Executive Director Brianne Yontz said. “We have a lot of positive things impacting Bryan County and it’s important to share that information. We plan on making this an annual event.”

It was one of two forums Tuesday in the City Center. A candidate’s forum for those running for Richmond Hill City Council took place that evening and it too, featured much discussion of growth.

More on growth-related issues raised at both forums to come.

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