The Hall County School District’s plan for accommodating new students appears to be a “back to the future” move that would scrap plans for a new middle school in the district.
The district projects three schools would move to their former buildings — Flowery Branch High School to the current Davis Middle School; Davis Middle to the former Davis site, the current South Hall Middle School on Falcon Parkway; and South Hall Middle to the former SHMS on Poplar Springs Road, which also would accommodate the Da Vinci Academy and the middle school program of the World Language Academy.
The series of moves — and redistricting for students — would occur in the 2018-19 school year, based on the latest projections.
Matt Cox, the Hall school system’s director of facilities, outlined the draft plan for the Board of Education at Monday night’s work session.
The current Flowery Branch High School would then become the 1,400-student to 1,600-student school for middle and high school — as it was intended when it was built. The facility would have 800 to 900 high school students and 600 to 700 middle school students, according to current projections.
Superintendent Will Schofield noted the system had growth of 500 to 800 students a year before the economy crashed.
“We may see some explosive growth again,” he said, if economic signs continue to be positive.
Cox said the moves of the schools — and associated renovations, additions and site improvements — make sense from a cost standpoint. It would not require building a new school. Each site would require some renovation, and a two-story or three-story building is projected for the Poplar Springs site.
Moving South Hall Middle back to that site “would put Johnson (High School) and South Hall Middle back together again,” Cox told the board. Plans call for a sidewalk from South Hall to Johnson for students to walk between the two.
More than 100 parking spaces and redesigned bus traffic lanes also are planned there, Cox said.
Schofield said the system has “looked at the different scenarios” in South Hall County “over the last several years,” and it would have almost three years to work out the details of redistricting.
He said the school district will talk with community groups about redistricting and the transition.
Depending on growth, the next new school probably would be a 1,250-student middle school on the current Flowery Branch High campus, Schofield said. The site is 138 acres, he noted, and was purchased with the expectation of having two school buildings there.