Plans for Newnan High School Return Announced
From Special Reports
Superintendent Evan Horton presented a plan at the May 11 Coweta County School Board meeting to return Newnan High School students to in-person instruction in August, largely at the Newnan High campus.
The board approved the plan, which will bring 10th through 12th grade students back to portions of the campus in August for in-person instruction, while new 9th grade students will locate to the Central Educational Center (CEC) campus as a temporary 9th grade campus.
The Newnan High campus has been closed since the March 26 Newnan-area tornado damaged many of the campus’ 13 main classroom buildings and other facilities. A determination of a scope of work to fully restore the NHS campus is expected in the near future, as engineers and school and insurance officials complete a review of the damage and necessary restoration work.
Repairs at Drake Stadium have proceeded enough to allow for an on-campus NHS graduation this year, on May 27 as planned. Superintendent Evan Horton also noted that three buildings on the NHS campus – including the 9th Grade Campus, the 700 (science) building and the 900 (math) building are less severely damaged, and could be repaired in time for the new school year.
With that in mind, Horton recommended that:
NHS 10th-12th grade will return to the NHS campus this August. The 60 existing classrooms in the three immediately usable buildings (all at the center of campus) will be paired with approximately 30 portable classrooms. The portable classrooms will be erected in the 9th grade parking lot and on a western campus parking area. Existing cafeteria facilities in the 9th grade building will also be supplemented with temporary cafeteria and kitchen facilities to serve students on-campus.
Similarly, NHS 9th graders will use both existing classrooms at the Central Educational Center, paired with approximately 20 portable units and temporary kitchen and cafeteria facilities erected on campus. CEC’s regular classes will continue without interruption.
The board approved the plan for the 2021-22 school year. However, as work proceeds on the Newnan High campus, and buildings are brought back online for student use, students may be shifted earlier into permanent classrooms on the campus. The goal will be to return all students to a restored NHS campus as soon as possible.
Though students will be attending classes on the NHS campus while restoration work is ongoing next year, Horton noted that the school system has experience with that eventuality. Northgate High School is currently undergoing a major renovation and addition while students attend classes there, as have East Coweta High, Newnan High and Evans Middle School in recent years.
Horton noted that the plan keeps Newnan High students and teachers together and in their own facilities or in nearby facilities. Both campus locations will provide students full access to student technology and student services. Locating Newnan High students on both campuses will also minimize the impact to other schools next year.
Using both the NHS and CEC campuses will allow for adequate classroom space, and also suitable permanent space for storm sheltering if needed. The Central campus was also once used as the Newnan High School 9th and 10th grade campus many years before the establishment of the CEC Charter and Career Academy.
Horton also said that the plan lets NHS students, faculty and parents know where students will attend classes before the end of the current school year, and before the summer break.
As a part of the plan, the board approved an agreement with Vesta Modular to provide portable classrooms next year. The total project cost for the rental of the classrooms for both campuses is $918,277, which the school system’s insurance carrier has agreed to cover up to policy limits. Any additional costs incurred above these limits would be paid by the school system. The rental agreement falls under the provisions of board policy DJED, which covers emergency purchases.
The school system has worked with it’s insurance carrier since the March 26 disaster to assess damage at NHS and Atkinson Elementary, and to come up with prioritized goals for restoring function at the campuses.
Repairs to the stadium area (for graduation), to Atkinson Elementary (which has been re-roofed and dried in for interior restoration), and securing temporary classrooms for Newnan High School students next year were the first priorities identified in recent weeks. Atkinson Elementary School will be ready for students to return to that campus in August.
The next priority for Newnan High – as scope of work planning continues – is to begin re-roofing and restoration work on Max Bass gymnasium for student use. A full scope of work plan for restoration of the NHS campus is expected soon.