The Barrow County School System hosted a Groundbreaking Ceremony on Thursday, September 16, 2021, at 9 a.m. to mark the start of construction for a new elementary school.
The “Barrow Innovation Campus Elementary School” (working name) will be the tenth elementary school in the district for Pre-K to fifth grade. The school is scheduled to open in August 2023. It is located on the Innovation Campus off Austin Road, where Sims Academy and the Barrow Arts & Sciences Academy are already housed.
The addition of this elementary school will serve to meet the ever-growing needs of our community, especially on the south side of the county.
“This school is an investment in maintaining the Barrow County School System’s focus on providing the best educational experiences and facilities for our students and community while managing the high population growth rates we are currently experiencing,” shared Superintendent Dr. Chris McMichael.
In his remarks at the groundbreaking, Dr. McMichael explained that this school is being funded by local tax dollars and ESPLOST proceeds without the usual addition of the money from the State Department of Education.
The State only looks at a school system’s total number of classrooms when ascertaining the need for those dollars, not location. “At this point in time, we are not showing the needed deficit of total classrooms to apply for state funds. However, we know that a number of elementary schools, especially Kennedy and Yargo, are already crowded. If our classroom deficit increases sufficiently between now and the opening of the school, we will certainly apply for funding at that time. However, we feel we need to move forward now to proactively manage our growth.”
The new school is expected to help to alleviate the student populations at Bethlehem, Kennedy, Yargo, and Auburn elementary schools. The rezoning process will begin next August 2022.
The single-story building will include the following features:
- 111,150 square feet
- 50 classrooms
- 1 Art classroom with kiln room and outdoor patio, 1 Music classroom, 2 Stem Labs with instructor demo tables, and 1 multidisciplinary Computer Lab
- Kindergarten and Special Education Classrooms with individual toilets
- Gymnasium with wood flooring & full-sized basketball court
- Cafeteria with Stage and Full-Service Kitchen
- Secure Vestibule at Main Entry
- Separate entry/exit drives for cars and buses respectively
- Two separate play fields (K-2 & 3-5)
- Energy Efficient HVAC system
- State-of-the-art Energy Management, Fire Alarm, and Computer Network Systems, including card reader access to selected doors
“We are excited to be able to bring the elementary school experience to this innovative and growing campus, said Superintendent McMichael. “Many of the students who will attend may very well be able to spend their entire school career, even beyond graduation if they choose to attend at Lanier Technical College, here on this campus."
Construction Manager - Charles Black Construction Company
Civil/Site Engineers - Breedlove Land Planning
Architect - Cunningham, Forehand, Matthews, & Moore Architects
Due to the current pandemic situation, a limited number of guests participated in the Groundbreaking Ceremony.