Why some Columbia County students will go to different schools
EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Columbia County parents got new information about a rezoning that would close one school and open two new ones.
It’s now a waiting game for parents to see where their elementary students will go after this school year.
Construction is underway for Westmont Elementary School, and work will start soon for North Columbia Elementary School.
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The first meeting happened on Tuesday and while some parents are upset about the closing of South Columbia Elementary, we spoke to one who is just hopeful for the future.
“I am actually excited to see the progress of the county is making with all of these new being updated. I am hoping that we’re going to be back at either Westmont or stick at Lewiston how they see fit for the rezoning we were there as it’ll be great, if we could find out exactly who the admin team will be returning and also any other staff members that will be returning, that would be really great for our students who are previously there, and just knowing that they’re coming back to some familiarity,” said Columbia County Parent, Aurora Matocha.
The schools affected by the proposal are Blue Ridge Elementary School, Brookwood Elementary School, Evans Elementary School, Lewiston Elementary School, and Martinez Elementary School.
Areas impacted from South Columbia Elementary School to Blue Ridge Elementary include:
- Petersburg Station, Magnolia Trace, El Cordero, Phillips Estates, Village at Riverwatch, Old Petersburg Plantation, addresses north of Riverwatch Parkway between Stage Coach Way and Baston Road.
Areas impacted from South Columbia Elementary to Evans Elementary include:
- Addresses and roads off of Rountree Way, addresses and roads off of Riverwatch Parkway between Washington Road and Columbia Industrial Boulevard, addresses south of Riverwatch Parkway between Columbia Industrial Boulevard and Old Evans Road (Connor Place and Lakeside on Riverwatch).
Areas impacted from Evans Elementary to Westmont Elementary include:
- Emerson and Pendleton Place at Crawford Creek, roads within Crawford Creek connected to and including Sinclair Drive, Lillian Park Drive, and Wayne Drive, Glennwood and Evanston neighborhoods, addresses on the east side of North Belair between Owens Road and Pineland Drive and Edwards Drive and Mornigside Drive.
Areas impacted from Martinez Elementary to Westmont Elementary include:
- Hickory Grove, Shadowmoor, Sedgefield, Moss Creek, Ashton Woods, and West Lynne Neighborhoods off of Columbia Road. Addresses and roads south of Owens Road from Marty Dr. to Washington Road. The Belmont apartments. Addresses on the east side of North Belair between Columbia Road and Pineland Drive.
Areas impacted from South Columbia Elementary to Martinez Elementary include:
- All addresses and connecting neighborhoods off of Old Evans Road and all neighborhoods and addresses south of Riverwatch Parkway from Blue Ridge Drive to Baston Road and north of Washington Road from Hightower Drive to Baston Road.
Areas impacted from Brookwood Elementary to Westmont Elementary include:
- The area of South Old Belair Road to include Cutter Mill Road, Perry Mill Circle, Mill Pond Court, Amelia Drive, Brookgreen Road, Millhollow Lane, Millbrook Road, Millhaven Road,and addresses west of 4633 Millhaven Road.
Areas impacted from Lewiston Elementary to Westmont Elementary include:
- Addresses on North Old Belair Road between Columbia Road and Longmeadow Drive, and Faithful Way and Orchard Place.
For 2025, Euchee Creek Elementary School and North Harlem Elementary School will send some students to North Columbia Elementary.
Areas impacted from Euchee Creek Elementary to North Columbia Elementary include:
- Louisville Rd between I-20 and Columbia Road, and any connecting roads or neighborhoods in that area. Columbia Road addresses between Louisville Road and High Meadows Drive and any connecting roads in that area.
Areas impacted from North Harlem Elementary to North Columbia Elementary include:
- South of I-20 to Harlem High School and west of Highway 221 following Clary Cut Drive as the boundary. This will include the Green Point Area.
As the saying goes, out with the old and in with the new.
“The building is more than bricks and mortar. It’s where a lot of us were invested in. And the teachers and the staff really just loved on us,” said Anna Dunn.
Dunn went to North Columbia when she was a kid. Now her son will go to the same school as her, but with a new building when he starts elementary school in 2025.
“It’s pretty cool. I’m sure as he gets older, he will remind me that I went to the old building. I’m sure there will be some prestige from going to this new facility,” she said.
New facilities and closing an old one means moving students around.
Associate Superintendent Penny Jackson said: “Relocating students is never an easy thing. But anytime you close a school completely down, whatever that enrollment is, you’d have to find a home for all of those students.”
If the plan passes, next year more than 650 elementary school students will be on the move next year, mainly moving from South Columbia Elementary School or going to Westmont Elementary Schoo.
In 2025, more than 75 students from Euchee Creek Elementary School and more than 90 students from North Harlem Elementary School will go to North Columbia Elementary School.
“Someone once told me that every zone has an edge and you don’t think that’s important, but when you start rezoning, there’s if you live on the edge of a zone, you’re always in danger of being the one that has to go somewhere else,” said Jackson.
The district hasn’t rezoned to this extent since 2015, but with growth comes the need for change.
“Our 10 year projection really helped us to look into the future, and although we’re going to see a bubble of growth over the next few years, a couple of years later we’ll settle back down,” said Jackson.
The proposed shift in zones also includes middle and high schools.
The schools impacted are Evans, Greenbriar, Grovetown, and Harlem high and middle schools.
Harlem and Greenbriar middle and high schools include:
- Highway 221, Burns Road, and Linder McCurdy Road to the county line/dam.
Evans and Grovetown middle and high schools include:
- South of I-20 and east of Old Wheeler Road, any connecting roads to Old Wheeler Road, any address or connecting roads east of Old Wheeler Road on Wrightsboro Road and any connecting roads or neighborhoods off of Powell Road
If your interested in attending the next meeting, here are the upcoming dates:
- November 7 at Martinez Elementary School
- November 9 at North Columbia Elementary School
- November 14 at the Columbia County Board of Education building, the county will look to approve the final plan during this meeting.
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