New elementary school helping revitalize local neighborhood

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 This Morning / Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Two Richmond County elementary schools are now one. Lamar Elementary and Milledge Elementary combined this year in a brand new building and the new school is helping the whole Harrisburg community.

Lamar-Milledge Elementary is just a few months into the school year in its new building. It's something they've been anticipating for a while and that the positive impact it's having in the community is visible.

"This school is the heart of Harrisburg," said Principal Raye Robinson.

The new elementary school sits in the center of the Harrisburg neighborhood.

"As with anything, you know when you get something new you treat it better, you like it better, and you're just happy to be there because you're blessed to have the opportunity to be in a new building," Robinson said.

John Milledge and Lamar Elementary came together to form a brand new school Lamar-Milledge. Milledge and Lamar were two of the oldest schools in the district, but they said the main reason is actually growth. They were seeing more students coming in and needed a new building. Right now, they have 460 children, mainly from the Harrisburg neighborhood, attending the school.

"It's new, it's fresh and I think it gives everybody a fresh start including me," said teacher Darlene Gaines, who taught in the old Lamar building for 22 years.

"It has lifted the spirits of the people who lived here," Gaines said. "The kids were so excited that they were going to have a new building."

"It makes me proud to be in a new school," added fourth grader Jordyn Dorsey. "I try to represent my school in a good, clean way."

With the new building comes a new lunchroom, gym, playground and classrooms.

"They're enjoying it," Robinson said. "They love the classrooms, they have space to actually get up and move they have space to work in independent groups, classrooms are large enough to accommodate the needs of the students."

In each classroom and throughout the school you'll find new technology, like interactive promethium boards, a media cast system and computers.

"I think the technology is helping to take the children to the wave of the future," Gaines said.

But for the children, it's the little things that bring a smile to their faces.

"I like the way we got different colors on the walls," Dorsey said.

For the neighborhood, it's a lot more than just a new school.

"This is almost like a second home to them because they're fed here, they're nurtured here, they're cared for here and they know they're safe here," Gaines said.

"The school building, lots of times, is the best building that the kids are in for the entire day," Robinson said.

For the past three years they have been at Lamar Elementary. The new building actually sits where the old Milledge Elementary used to be. They say having the new building so visible in the community is really helping to revitalize the area.

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