Middle school should remain ‘community center’

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By Patrick Yost

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After holding six meetings since last February, a committee tasked with creating a new purpose for the Morgan County Middle School presented its findings to the Morgan County School Board Monday night.

According to Dr. Wayne Myers, former Morgan County Primary School principal and member of the committee, the “number one response we received from surveys was to keep (the middle school) as a community center.”

The group also said  the history of the institution and the Pearl–Burney street schools should be honored and remembered no matter the eventual use of the structure.

“First and foremost, the committee recommends that anyone purchasing this property must honor the history of the property by designating whatever use is made of the property as “Pearl Burney” and should use that name to describe the property and/or any structures constructed  on the property. In addition, any future owner of the property shall provide space to display a history of Pearl High School. It is recommended that the display be coordinated by a Heritage Committee, comprised of alumni and/or their family members, who attended Pearl Burney schools, along with other interested citizens of the county. the Heritage Committee is to be dedicated to the collection of memorabilia representing significant aspects of the school’s history.”

The committee also recommended that the structure on Pearl Street be “used in full or part as a multi-purpose community center (or mixed–use facility) which meets the needs of the adjacent community as well as the county, at large.”

Uses suggested by the committee include after school programs, recreational uses, continuing education and office space for non-profits. The middle school is scheduled to be closed as part of a broader school facility improvement plan that calls for the reconstruction of a middle school on the same campus as a new Morgan County High School on College Drive.

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