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Bibb County School Board tours schools | News

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Bibb County School Board tours schools
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The Bibb County School Board took a field trip Saturday to look at all the elementary schools that could be impacted by the tentative five-year facilities plan. It details what schools could merge or close.

"There's nothing better than having the board, and the superintendent and his team to come, look at the space, think about the environment and culture," said Wanda West, member.

First stop was Bernd Elementary.

"It's a really old building that's not ADA compliant. There are no sprinklers. There are a lot of issues with the building. It's really old, parts of it built in the 1940's and 50's," said Lynn Farmer, member.

Farmer recognizes that Bernd is a family oriented, award-winning school and wants to keep that momentum going.

"I'm walking away thinking I have no doubt in my mind that we need a new school in East Macon. It's just a matter of where do we put it that's centrally located," she said.

At King-Danforth off Shurling Drive, members discussed the possibility of combining that school with Jones Elementary and building a new school on the King-Danforth site.

"It is right across from Appling Middle School there's so much collaboration that can be done with the board of education, with the community, maybe even with the city," said West.

Out of all the schools the board visited, member Tom Hudson wanted them to especially drive around the Morgan Elementary neighborhood.

"You have gang activity, graffiti, and you have a lot of abandoned houses and I don't think it would be wise to make that type investment of tax dollars into a declining neighborhood," he said.

The proposed plan calls for building a new school on the Morgan site.

Morgan, Barden, Burghard and Rice Elementary schools are in the Bloomfield neighborhood.

Interim Superintendent Steve Smith said that community only really needs two elementary schools.

"The primary focus there is which two do we need? Where do we need to place them? You can incorporate a discussion about Bloomfield Middle. Bloomfield Middle is built for 800 and some odd students," he said.

Smith said two schools could be housed at Bloomfield Middle, one elementary and the current middle school, because half of the building isn't being used.

Then the board would need to figure out where the other elementary school would go.

The board planned two tentative work sessions next Tuesday and Wednesday to further discuss the facilities plan.

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