Augusta's new technical magnet school finally finished, ready for students

News 12 got a tour of the newest magnet school tour in Richmond County. (WRDW-TV)
News 12 got a tour of the newest magnet school tour in Richmond County. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Board members say there's nothing else like it in Augusta.

And in this tough economy, a school like this will do what many other schools can't.

“The ultimate goal is employment,” Principal Renee Kelly said.

Employment is a goal many students have failed even after a four-year college degree, but leaders are hoping this hands-on high school will help change that.

“This is the wave of the future, to have these young people the ability to go to a school and get them a job that will pay them when they get out,” said District 6 School Board member Jack Padgett Jr.

“For the very first year, we have currently computer networking, culinary, broadcast video and banking,” Kelly said.

Now that the building's done, it's just a couple more weeks before these halls are filled with 150 handpicked Richmond County students, and Principal Kelly is thrilled.

“Definitely up to my expectation. This is gorgeous. This facility is state of the art. Having those hands on and having the necessary equipment to do the job we're asking them to do will definitely be a reward for them,” she said.

Each classroom was designed with a specific purpose in mind. For example, the art room has a lot of natural light, color and patterns to the floor.

But classrooms aren't the only places where learning will happen -- the building itself is a teaching tool.

If you look up to the ceiling, you will see pipes and conduits.

“Definitely not a traditional or typical high school,” Kelly said.

While there are still a few finishing touches left to be done, like rails on the stairs and smart boards on the walls, Kelly says she's ready to get started.

“We're hoping that we can guide our students to be not just a worker, but become passionate about what they're going into and then it doesn't become work,” she said.

The freshman class has already been chosen. Each year they'll add another class until they reach capacity of 750 students.

Current students have been at Lamar Elementary while this building is being finished.

Unfortunately, they won't be able to unwrap it all by Christmas, but it won't be too much longer. Classes start Jan. 3.

Students will also have the opportunity to do a dual enrollment with Augusta Tech in their junior year.

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