The southern portion of Hall County is booming, and the school board is planning for growth.
The Hall County Board of Education discussed the need for more classroom space at Johnson High School and Flowery Branch High School at the board’s work session Monday. It floated the possibility of realigning the grades in schools in those districts and opening a new school.
“Looking at our enrollment and our growth, it is crystal clear to us — though this could change on a dime and sometimes does — we are really short on classroom space in grades six through 12 in the Flowery Branch district and in the Johnson district,” said Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield. “So we’ve talked about getting enough classroom space in those two areas growing so rapidly.”
One possible solution to the growth in the area, Schofield said, is the creation of an eighth- and ninth-grade transition academy. This would not only alleviate the need for space in the area, but it would be an asset to ninth-graders in the district, according to Schofield.
“We’re really excited about what we’ve discussed and looked at as a possibility,” Schofield said. “And that’s looking in the Flowery Branch and Johnson areas at a sixth and seventh configuration, an eighth and ninth transition academy and (grades) 10-12 (for) high schools. We think if we did that, we could use existing space and build one new school in the Johnson district for sixth and seventh.”
The board approved a resolution Monday to withdraw its Fiscal Year 2016 Capital Outlay Application as part of its five-year Facility Plan. This originally included additions to Johnson High School and Flowery Branch High School and was submitted in 2014. Schofield said since then, the district has become increasingly aware of the need for realignment affecting all grades six through 12 in the Flowery Branch and Johnson area, and the originally planned additions would likely not suffice.
Next school year, Johnson is projected to have 1,500 students, Schofield said.
Facilities director Matt Cox said the earliest the new facility could be open would be 2018.
School board member Craig Herrington said there is definitely going to be some additional growth in South Hall with the addition of the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton.
“The growth is coming,” he said.
Board chairman Nath Morris agreed.
“That’s definitely where the growth is,” Morris said. “It slowed down in 2008, but I think it’s starting to catch more momentum again…. If we don’t start planning now, we’re going to get caught behind the eight-ball.”