Board hears recommendations on which Richmond County schools to close

News 12 at 11 / Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It looks like three schools could be closed, three may consolidate, and one could be relocated.

Here's the breakdown.

Collins Elementary, Murphey Middle and Sego Middle School could all be closed.

"Schools don't last forever. They get closed," said consultant Bill Montgomery.

With the closing of the Cherry Tree Crossing Housing Complex, Collins was under-enrolled below 70 percent, and if it closes, the students will relocate. Closing Collins Elementary could happen as early as May of this year.

"A good percentage of them will go North to Craig-Houghton and directly South to Wilkerson Gardens," Montgomery explained.

That was just the first part of Montgomery's presentation to the board. The next part explained the consolidations that might be ahead.

He's suggesting Josey High School become a 6-12th grade school, essentially taking all of Murphey Middle's students. The same would go for Butler High School and Sego Middle.

Once Sego students move to Butler, Rollins Elementary would move in to Sego's old building.

"The advantage there is Rollins has an old building. Sego is a better building. We could move them in there. It gives them a larger building to be a larger school," Montgomery reasoned.

Montgomery says having a 6-12th grade school gives elementary students access to more classes.

"An advanced math class or a third year foreign language right on that campus without having to travel," he said.

He also suggests merging National Hills Elementary into Garrett Elementary.

It's a lot to take in, but listeners seem cautiously optimistic.
"I have to digest them myself, but so far, preliminarily speaking, I'm relatively pleased with what they've done," Gene Hunt said.

They're keeping an eye on all the growth around Fort Gordon, mentioning Richmond, McBean, and Hephzibah could overcrowd.
Now the suggestions are out, the board and the community get the final word.

"Not final decisions right now. They're strong recommendations, but we still have to go out and have the town hall meetings," Montgomery said.

Before these changes are set in stone, you get to have a say. There will be three town hall meetings.

  • The first will be Monday, Feb. 3 at Josey.
  • The second will be Tuesday, Feb. 4 at Langford.
  • The third will be Monday, Feb. 10 at Butler.

They'll all go from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

We've attached the full presentation for you to see.

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