HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL) – Students all over our viewing area are heading back to school this week, but for Harris County middle schoolers the new semester brings a brand new school.
Students will make the transition to the brand new $33 million middle school facility after completing the last fall semester at the original Harris County Carver Middle School building, which was built sometime in the 1950’s.
The Harris County School District shared the $33 million project received the funds for this brand new building through multiple avenues.
“$9.1 million is coming from the Georgia Department of Education Facilities Capital Outlay Program and $26 million of financing by Raymond James Financial Services, which will be paid back through a 1 million general obligation tax levy and a one cent ESPLOST (Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), both approved by Harris County citizens in November 2019 referendum,” said Harris County School District.
In March of 2020 the Harris County School District broke ground on the project.
Now nearly 2 years later, students and teachers like 8th Grade Georgia Studies Teacher Felicia McCarty, who taught 21 years at the previous building, are making the new 150-thousand square foot facility their home.
“It’s exciting, scary and it’s exciting. We’re all a little nervous, ya know just making sure everybody finds where they’re going,” said McCarty. “But we’re excited for the kids to see what we have for them, their new classrooms, desks are new, everything they’re walking into is new. So we’re excited to see that and what they’re getting.”
The new building is upgraded with new technology, various labs, and 61 classrooms.
Principal Melissa Hayes said while the old building is a piece of history and will remain a historic site for Harris County, the new building allows for new opportunities and technology that will enhance student and teacher experience.
“So now our students are able to use technology in a way that they’ve never seen before for our county,” said Hayes. “We did a great job at our other site. We really had a lot of things going for us, but now we can do even more.”
A point that McCarty agrees with.
“So with the touchscreens and the more technology in the classroom we just feel like we can pull the kids in more, they can participate in the games, etcetera, things we’re doing in the classroom,” said McCarty. “And that means more to them instead of just.. paper pencil is good, but the technology helps keep the kids interested and we can do more for them and help bring the outside world in for them.”
The new school sits directly behind the Harris County High School which means a new traffic flow for Harris County parents while dropping off their children. Assistant Superintendent of Business Services and Technologies Justin Finney breaks down which roads parents should be using for drop off and pick up.
“What we want to remind parents is if you’re dropping off at Harris County Carver Middle school please use Mobley Road entrance and exit at Mobley Road entrance,” said Finney. “And if you’re dropping off at the Harris County High School use the front 116 entrance and exit the front 116 entrance.”
If you’re dropping off a student at the new middle school and a student at the high school Finney explains you need to go around to the respective school entrances.
“If parents are dropping off at both schools, if they drop off at the middle school first they will use the Mobley Road entrance, go back out the Mobley road entrance, around to the 116 entrance in front of Harris County High School,” said Finney. “If they’re dropping off at the high school first they’ll use the 116 entrance, exit the 116 entrance and come around to Mobley Road.”