New Barrow high school to be ‘choice’ for students

The new high school in Barrow County, the county’s third high school, would teach students in a different way and would be a “choice” school, the new principal of the school told BOE members recently.
The new school, which has not been named, is going by two names at the moment — one from the construction officials, East Barrow High School; one from the educators, Barrow Arts and Sciences Academy.
The name for the school will come through a board process.
The Barrow County Board of Education got a report on the structure of the new school at its work session. 
Dale Simpson, the current assistant principal at Sims Academy of Innovation and Technology and the new principal for the third school, touted it as “several smaller schools.” He said each “school” would be known as an academy and presented six potential areas – art and design; music and dance; theatre and film; life and health science; math, science and engineering; and technology and computer science.
Simpson said the district has increased in enrollment by 308 students in three years and that growth is expected to continue. 
He said both current high schools are over their capacity. Apalachee High School has 1,839 students and Winder-Barrow High School has 2,007.
The new school would “build on” the Center for Innovative Teaching, now being held in the former Russell Middle School. He said the curriculum would be “an extension but also an adaptation” of the CFIT model.
That model includes instruction in multiple areas with the “dominant” theme of the academy, such as art and design.
“This theme is integrated into everything,” Simpson said. He emphasized that the “creative side is married with the technical side.”
See more in the March 6 edition of the Barrow News-Journal.

Originally Posted on Barrow News Journal-

Work on new Barrow high school expected to begin this fall

Work on the new high school planned for the property next to Sims Academy should start this fall with grading. Construction is expected to begin in the winter.
Joe Perno, the Barrow County School System’s assistant superintendent for system operations, outlined that schedule last week.
The school system expects to spend about $7 million on the first phase of the school. 
That will pay for the construction of a student services building, which will include a cafeteria, physical education gym, media center and specialty rooms, such as for art and drama, and a classroom building with 29 rooms.
Perno is clear that the remainder of the school will have to be built over time and will have to be paid for with a new SPLOST – special purpose local option sales tax – referendum in 2021.
The school district has hired an architectural firm, civil engineer and construction manager to work on the master plan and on the high school for the site.

Cunningham Forehand Matthews and Moore is the architect and gets a fee of 5 percent of the construction costs; Breedlove Land Planning is the civil engineer and will get a fee of 3.5 percent of the costs. Both were hired in December. 
Bowen & Watson is the construction manager at risk. It will get up to $1.3 million for its fee.
All three of the firms have worked on multiple Barrow County school projects.
The school is expected to be an arts and sciences magnet school. It will complement the science, technology, engineering and math program at Sims. He said the “overarching goal” is to focus on the arts in the building.
The initial plans will connect the new school with Sims through an awning-covered walk to the student services building.
Sims curriculum also will be revamped and classes are expected to accommodate more students than in the past. 
The first phase of the building is expected to be complete and ready for school in the summer of 2020, Perno said.
Perno said the first phase of the school is planned for 500 to 600 students. Sims Academy also will accommodate about that number. 
“We’re trying to build a building that’s pretty flexible,” Perno said.
The “campus” on Austin Road will have about 1,000 high school students, Perno said. The district’s two high schools, Winder-Barrow and Apalachee, have slightly more than 2,000 and about 1,800 students now, respectively.
“What we’re really trying to create out there is a campus,” Perno said. The property is large enough to eventually accommodate high, middle and elementary schools, he explained.
He said the planners are talking about that “eventual” road. Will it occur, he asked rhetorically, and shrugged.
Perno explained the district will get some of the construction money from the state. That is based on a formula for what the state says a district needs 
As an example, he said, the state says Barrow County qualifies for 19 new classrooms. 
“We’re at that right now,” Perno said. “It’s in focus for us right now. We’re dealing with it. We’re living it.”
The district also is planning renovations at Yargo Elementary and Westside Middle schools. Those plans will go on this year, but construction is expected next summer – when the next budget year begins.

Originally posted on Barrow News Journal-

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