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PJA

Education in the Augusta ARea

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Discuss the many school developments going on in the CSRA here.

Two new elementary schools in Richmond County are almost complete. They are both about a mile from each other. One sits between Fairington and the big Walton Farms Development ( I live in Walton Acres). And the other is at the corner of Spirit Creek Rd. And Windsor Spring Rd. by the Town & Country and Fairington neighborhoods. They should be open this August.

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Two-story school plan approved

By Donnie Fetter {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} Columbia County Bureau

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 School officials in Columbia County unveiled plans for what the system's next middle school will look like at a school board meeting Tuesday.

The U-shaped school, with a gym off to the side, would be the county's only two-story school building.

"I think it's a great idea," board member Wayne Bridges said.

Officials are negotiating to buy about 30 acres on Blackstone Camp Road for the school, Superintendent Tommy Price said.

The acreage is typical of the county's other middle schools, Mr. Price said, but the topography of the land the board is looking to buy prevents the spread-out architecture of other middle schools.

"They certainly don't have as much land to clear out as the Greenbrier and Grovetown models," school trustee Roxanne Whitaker said.

Concerned about the school's ability to expand, board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco asked where classrooms could be added to the structure.

"A third floor," Mr. Bridges quipped.

Mr. Price said classrooms could be built onto the back of the school.

Overcrowding at Riverside Middle School is prompting plans for the new school in the Martinez area, Mr. Price said.

The board hopes to purchase land and begin construction by January, in time for an August 2007 opening.

The price tag for the new school and the land to build it on was not discussed in Tuesday's meeting.

The board unanimously approved the architectural plan with only slight changes.

Also at the meeting, the board approved 2006-07 school year growth projections presented by Mr. Price.

The superintendent estimated that an additional 610 pupils, for a total of 21,188, will be enrolled in the county's schools next school year.

The system grew by 834 pupils this year, about 200 more than projected.

"It was our largest growth year in a long time," Mr. Price said.

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USC Aiken finally breaks ground on major project

By Chris Gay {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} Staff Writer

Friday, December 9, 2005 AIKEN - After six years of planning, USC Aiken finally broke ground Friday on its newest facility.

With school and government officials on hand, USC Aiken began the process for its $17 million convocation center on the vacant lot adjacent to Roberto Hernandez Stadium.

The 100,000 square-foot arena will replace the current gymnasium inside the student activities center. It is being built by the China Corporation and is expected to be completed within 16 months.

"It means so much to us. This elevates our program to another level," Pacers athletic director Randy Warrick said. "It's going to put us up with a lot of other schools in the Peach Belt, in terms of facilities. It'll help us in recruiting.

"It's just a multi-faceted facility that's going to help us in a number of ways."

The 3,400-seat, bowl-shaped arena will house the athletic department and feature multiple locker rooms, a weight room and a walking track.

"I don't think it by itself will make a difference in what we do," USC Aiken chancellor Thomas Hallman said. "It will augment the things we already have in place."

The two-story building will become the largest gathering facility in Aiken County, and it will nearly double the capacity of the school's current 1,800-seat gym. The arena will double as a meeting place for community functions.

"This is a place to bring people to show them what we have here in Aiken," said USC Aiken alumnus and former basketball player Billy Morris.

Warrick said the school delayed the project for years, because of soaring construction costs and revisions to the arena's plans.

Originally, a conference center was planned alongside the convocation center, but it was scrapped. Also in the original layout, the arena held 4,000 seats.

"When you initially design it, you put in everything you want," Warrick said. "There were some changes that won't have an impact in athletics."

Student athlete advisory committee member Ian Kowalchuk believes the arena will help Pacers athletes become more of a family.

"It's just going to create one big community for the athletes," he said. "I think it'll bring a sense of connectedness with the athletes."

After the completion of the project, Warrick said USC Aiken will most likely put in a bid for the 2008-09 Peach Belt basketball tournaments.

As for the old gymnasium, Hallman said it will be redesigned and transformed to solely house student services and activities.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or [email protected]

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Also Augusta Technical College is planning on expanding into Grovetown in the next couple of years. They already have campuses in Waynesboro, Thomson and the main campus in South Augusta. This would be the fourth location.

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The land for the new middle school in Columbia Co. that I mentioned above has been purchased and the school will be located on Black Camp Rd.

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The Richmond Co. BOE proposes a new list of construction projects that they hope will gain support. The list includes a new magnet middle school, a new south augusta middle school, a new magnet elementary school as well as several additions to several high schools including auditoriums (most high schools don't have them) as well gymnasium updates.

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Heritage Academy which is a inner city private school is buying the old Houghton School on Greene Street. They were given a loan by the Downtown Develpment Authority with the requirement that they stabilize the property. This is great news because it is just another improvement for Downtown Augusta but most importantly for the children whose parents can't afford expensive private schools. Here's the full story.

Full Story

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The Augusta Technical Institute's new satellite project in Grovetown hit a bump when the state senate 135,000 dollars that was set aside for the school. School officials still think they will be able to start the project next year and hopefully get the money back next year.

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Here's an update on some of the projects going on at Augusta State University. The article mainly focuses on the new 50,000 sq ft. student center (I actually was one of the students on the comittee who decided on what the student center should have in it.)

The Article

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I noticed this today. I didnt know North Augusta had a branch of Southern Weslyen University. Is this new? I know the building isnt but how long has this school been here?

SOuthernwesylenSmall.jpg

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I noticed this today. I didnt know North Augusta had a branch of Southern Weslyen University. Is this new? I know the building isnt but how long has this school been here?

SOuthernwesylenSmall.jpg

I'm not sure. We also have branches of Troy State University and Brenau University in the area as well.

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A new high school could come to Columbia Co. by 2009, which would be two years earlier than planned. The county is still wating for state approval. The county could receive state funds to build the school earlier due to overcrowding at current schools in the county.

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Davidson Fine Arts in Richmond County, Aiken High School, and South Aiken High School in Aiken County have been listed in Newsweek in the top 1200 schools in the country. Here are the details.

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^ That's good for ASU I guess. But I was walking around over there Tuesday night, and there is still room for a couple of high rises that could be constructed, though I'm not sure if the snobs in Summerville would allow it. Whatever they do, I just hope they can develop down Walton Way or maybe put the music/art department downtown. I do really hate to split the school up. Whatever happens, I just hope they don't start putting stuff in CoCounty---if they do, the Alumni Department won't get another cent from me as long as I live. :D

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I think they are looking at buying more land on Wrightsboro road. Not as good as building highrises in Summerville (which I dont think will ever happen)...but also not as bad as putting stuff out in Evans...which I would puke as well.

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^ you know (and I know this going to sound strange) but I kind of wish they would demolish Daniel Field and let Augusta State develop some of that land---it would be right next door to their new student housing......not that i have anything against Daniel Field, but I just don't see why we need 2 airports--we can't even seem to support one of them.

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Not sure where to put this, so I am putting it here. I apologize if it's in the wrong place. Apparently our very own Davidson Fine Arts school has been ranked number 1 in Georgia for SAT scores. Where was the article in the Chronicle? On the front page? No, that's only for kids who get in trouble at south Augusta schools. It was tucked on page 2 of the Metro section. Way to go Augusta Comical: Story

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Davidson continuously ranks number one in in the state as far as overall education goes. A.R. Johnson usually ranks somewhere in the top ten. I think that's one of the reasons that the other Richmond Co. schools get such low ratings. Most of the good students are in two schools.

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Yeah, I graduated from A.R. Johnson in 2003. I know in 2001 we went up from #7 to #3 in the state. I believe we're still ranked at #3. I saw a list one time before with these school rankings, I forgot which state website had it, but it was listed as Davidson as #1, a school in Gwinnett County as #2 and then us.

As far as the other Richmond Co schools. I know Cross Creek (South Augusta) has been mentioned recently in haveing the next highest SAT scores other then Davidson and ARJ, and Westside obviously is next. But also Davidson is good because it is a very strict and competitive school. For instance, there only can be a certain set amount of students from three main racial backgrounds (black, white, other), and you have to "audition" to the school, like it's Julliard or something. But at ARJ, you only have to of had a consistant B+ grade average to be considered.

Some other news on our Magnet Schools:

ARJ is being renovated/expanded to eventually house grades 6-12, instead of the current 9-12 (hopefully completed by 2008). There are also talks about building another Magnet school at Dorothy Hines Elementary school similar to C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School (grades pre. K- 8) and a Technical Magnet High School somewhere in Central or South Augusta.

My guess here is that this Technical Magnet school will help individuals who would rather work after HS instead of necessarily attending College; a great need for this city.

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Local businessman James Hull donated 2 million dollars to Augusta State's business department. It's now known as the James Hull College of Business, heheehehe. :D I'm not kidding. Great news for my old college. Here is the story: Augusta State

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I had to go check for myself and you guys are right. Davidson Magnet School did capture the top SAT spot for 2005.

This year's Top 10 individual school results are as follows......

School.......................................County/District.....................................Score

1. Davidson Magnet School..........................Richmond County.....................1752

2. Walton High School.................................Cobb County............................1705

3. DeKalb School of the Arts........................DeKalb County.........................1679

4. Northview High School.............................Fulton County...........................1670

5. Trion High School....................................Trion City.................................1669

6. Chattahooche High School.........................Fulton County..........................1666

tie.Chamblee High School.............................DeKalb County.........................1666

8. Roswell High School..................................Fulton County...........................1663

9. Lakeside High School................................DeKalb County..........................1660

10. North Springs High School........................Fulton County...........................1647

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