“It’s just an exciting time in Bartow County for education because we see that education is being given the priority it deserves,” said Janet Queen, who serves on the BCCCA’s board of directors.
The proposed construction at the site, located at the old Cass High School, is made possible through $3.25 million in grants by the Georgia College and Career Academy Project and Technical College System of Georgia. Paul Sabin, who serves as coordinator for testing and assessment, said the bulk of the grants will go toward teacher professional learning, student recruitment, modifying the existing building and upgrading technology and security.
He said this would include updating the entrance to the building and possibly creating a glassed-in community and computer area in the lobby. Other modifications include constructing an engineering lab, health care wing, cosmetology lab and marketing lab.
“We’ve had some initial conversations with some architects ... and something we’re going to have to think about is the outside [of the building] because we’re attracting 16-, 17-, and 18-year-olds and we’re wanting to attract people who want to be here,” Sabin said. “... Once approved by our board and put out to bid, those could actually be ready in fall 2013 when we open.”
The wings and labs would coincide with the school curriculum based upon career clusters. For example, someone under the engineering cluster would fall under the advance manufacturing pathway. This individual would have to take computer application courses at their base high school and would take additional classes at the academy.
Sabin said the board of directors are expected to make a decision regarding the clusters and to have them presented for approval by the Bartow County Board of Education by March.
Superintendent John Harper has said the intent of the academy, which recently received charter status, will be to provide an alternative education source for high school students who don’t desire the traditional high school experience while acquiring their diploma. The academy is set to offer courses based on a needs assessment survey sent to manufacturers and businesses throughout the county and has a partnership with Georgia Highlands College and Chattahoochee Technical College so students also may earn college credits and possibly certification or a two-year degree while attending the academy.
Next week the board of directors will begin the interview process for the school’s CEO.