News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, April 25, 2012
APPLING, Ga. -- Columbia County is one step closer to having a state-of-the-art, brand new middle school.
Board members approved a bid worth more than $15 million to rebuild Columbia Middle School. It's the beginning of a 5-year plan to improve your child's education.
"This building was built in 1956, one of the oldest schools, if not the oldest school, in Columbia County," said Principal Steven Cummings as he gave our cameras a tour of Columbia Middle School.
He says there's a buzz in the hallways now that construction is starting down the road.
"Teachers are very excited. Teachers tell me consistently that they ride by there periodically to see the progress to see where the building's at," Cummings said.
And the two-story school will be paid for with sales tax money.
Sheila Burnett has three grandchildren in Columbia County schools.
"I do know that 1 percent of every dollar that I spend goes back to the school system ... I think that's a good thing," Burnett said.
And it's not only taxpayers in Columbia County footing the bill; it's anyone who spends time and money here, too.
"When people travel down and they stop coming from Atlanta or wherever ... we benefit from that," Cummings said.
It means no more portables outside and no more leaving books in the hall because they can't fit into a classroom.
"The cafeteria will be twice the size as this cafeteria so we can house more students in there," Cummings said.
The new school will also have specific halls for each grade instead of students being scattered all over the building.
"Being able to have specific grade levels to the same hallways, which also increases the safety of the school," Cummings said.
Burnett supports what her sales tax dollars have funded.
"I think that you can't have anything better than education for the kids today and so why not give them that 1 percent," she said. "You know that they have a future ahead of them."
The school will be right next to Grovetown High School and is expected to open in fall 2013.
The five-year plan will rebuild or renovate six Columbia County schools for about $188 million. Voters approved the one-cent sales tax in 2010.