Bat problems lead to schools merging in Lincoln Co.

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, May 29, 2013

LINCOLNTON, Ga. (WRDW) -- Desks are on the move getting the new high school building ready for two schools worth of students next year.

Lincoln County High School and Lincoln County Middle School are merging.

"This will be the new entrance for the middle school. As you can see at the top, it's blank. That's where we'll put the lettering," Assistant Superintendent Brian Campbell said as he pointed to the school doors.

Starting in the fall, the two schools will be under one roof. It's a move that will save thousands of dollars.

"We've estimated a savings of approximately $200,000 a year by combining the schools," Campbell said.

Next year's budget is already facing a near $900,000 shortfall, so every penny counts. Campbell says this move isn't just about money, it's an upgrade for the students, too.

"We've got a brand new high school with brand new classrooms that have not been used. They're going to have science labs that they've never had," he explained.

The old middle school building built in the 50s has had its fair share of problems. You'll remember last month they found bats and their guano in the ceiling. They've also had to clean up mold.

"We did have bat problems. Also, there was one location that did have mold in a closet. It was going to take some major renovations to get it to today's standards. Our students deserve the best," Campbell said.

Campbell says with the money they'll be saving by merging the middle and high schools, it will free up funding to do more work at the elementary school.

"Planning for all bathrooms to be completely renovated. The entire building's going to be painted. The playground equipment is going to be replaced," he said.

Campbell says he knows there's been some concern about mixing sixth and 12th grade students because of the wide age gap, but he assures the students will stay in different wings in the school, have different bell schedules and have separate lunch times, so they should rarely cross paths.

While most teachers have supported the merge, football Coach Larry Campbell didn't like the idea and temporarily resigned. Assistant Superintendent Campbell says he rescinded his resignation on Tuesday and will be back as football coach and athletic director in the fall.

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