New Richmond Co. magnet school students begin class despite construction setbacks

News 12 at 6 o' clock / Monday, Aug. 13, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The new Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School welcomed its first group of students on Monday, but they weren't in shiny new classrooms.

Until construction of the new building is complete, the high schoolers will be taking classes at the old Lamar Elementary School.

"It gives us something to look forward to. It's like they're putting us in the backyard until our mansion gets ready," said Rudolph Brown, a new student at the magnet school.

One parent said, "As long as they're in school, that's the best thing, they're in school, when the new building is available, that's fine, too."

But it may still be a while before the new building is available.

"We're hoping the latter part of October, first of November. The issue is going to be when the fire marshal comes in and looks at it and says it's OK that we can occupy the school while they're still doing construction," said Nanette Barnes, director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education for the Richmond County Board of Education.

But despite the construction setbacks, leadership is excited about the new school.

Renee Kelly, the new principal at TCM, says, "Success starts with them -- not with a building itself."

But as you can expect, there are setbacks to a brand new school with an unfinished building.

"With them not having their true labs to work from, that may be the biggest obstacle," Kelly said.

But other than a few minor setbacks, students are staying focused on the reason they're here.

Rudolph Brown says the reason he wanted to attend the new school was to pursue a career as a broadcast journalist, just one of the many tracks offered at the school.

"What my plan is -- is to make history and change the name of the school to the 'Rudolph Brown Technical Career School," he laughed.

And with the help of his brand new school, the sky is the limit.

The school accepted 170 freshmen. They will add a grade each year until they are at capacity with 750 students. The students had to meet certain math scores on their CRCTs and be recommended by a teacher. From there, the nearly 900 applications were culled down by a lottery system.

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