School construction underway

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The new Morgan County High School and College and Career Academy (CCA) are nearly a quarter of the way finished as of this week.

“I was told this week that we are 23 percent of the way done,” said Dr. James Woodard, superintendent of the Morgan County Charter School System.  “The entire site is being transformed before our very eyes.”

The new high school and CCA comprise $26.7 million of the school system’s consolidated campus project. The entire project is estimated to cost $46.1 million and will include a new middle school. According to Woodard, the new high school and CCA will be completed in October 2018. The new middle school is set to be completed in December 2019.  According to Woodard, The Parrish Construction Group’s crew is working diligently and smoothly as the erect the framework of the new high school and CCA.

“Parrish has said they never deliver late and they don’t intend to start now,” said Woodard.

Thus far, the site has been cleared and graded, multiple slabs of concrete laid down, metal beams installed, an elevator shaft and firewall constructed, and all the major footings have been poured.

“Next, they will start putting on a portion of the roof,” said Woodard. “It is going very well and has been a very smooth process.”

According to Woodard, the style of the building will be modeled after “The Greek Revival” and will be faced with dark red bricks.

“It’s going to be a simply beautiful piece of architecture,” said Woodard. Woodard also anticipates that the new cut-through road between Main Street and East Avenue to the bypass will begin construction over the summer. But the new road will not be usable until the new high school and CCA open in October.

The new school and CCA will also bring new programming and scheduling for students.

“We are going to implement several programmatic changes when the new schools open,” explained Woodard. “We will be focused on giving our students opportunities to pursued more diverse career pathways.”

According to Woodard, that effort will include switching to a “block” schedule in which students will have four 90-minute classes each semester as opposed to seven 60-minute classes in a semester. This will allow for 8 courses to be offered to students throughout the year, instead of seven. “It will give students broader options when choosing a pathway,” said Woodard.

The CCA will feature four academies for students to better hone their chosen career path. There will be a fine arts academy, a business and IT academy, a human services academy and a sciences academy that will also offer programs in biotechnology and agriculture. Woodard likened the structure of the CCA as “having schools within a school.”

“Just like when I was in college, I attended a University but also went to college within the university for my career. The career academy will be like that. It will create a stronger sense of belonging and connectivity as a school within a school and will provide and more defined selection of courses tailored for a student’s career pathway.”

The IB Program (International Baccalaureate) and The AP Program (Advanced Placement) will also be enhanced and refocused once students make the transition into the new high school.

“It took a lot of hard work and planning to make this happen and now it’s finally coming to life,” said Woodard.

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