Ground was broken weeks ago, but the official groundbreaking for the new Clinch County school facility was held Thursday.
Community members, school officials, students, and current and former teachers joined with contractors and architects of the $53 million project Thursday between Clinch County High School and the tennis courts to hold the ceremony, and celebrate the occasion.
Clinch County Board of Education Chairman Stanley Thrift welcomed the crowd in attendance, and said the process of building a new school facility for Clinch County students began five years ago when the school board found out they needed a new facility and were eligible for significant state funding.
Clinch Schools Superintendent Dr. Lori James then addressed the crowd, thanking board members, those in attendance and the community for passing the most recent SPLOST, with 92.4 percent approval, which made the project possible.
“It’s been a very long journey already,” said James of the process thus far. “A great deal of thought has gone into every stage of this project.”
The school, which will be located on the current Clinch County High campus, behind the current CCHS building, will consist of three different schools – Clinch County Elementary (Pre-K-5th grade), Clinch County Middle (6th-8th grades), Clinch County High (9th-12th). They will be in the same building, but separated, said James, which will be accomplished through the school’s design.
Other speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony were CCHS freshman class president Amelia Cox, architect Leah Jones, and Lyndy Jones of JCI Contractors.
The groundbreaking was separated into three groupings – school board members and representatives from the architects and contractors, and State Senator Russ Goodman; current students in the school system; and current and past school teachers and personnel.
James said that construction has started at the site, and is expected to last another two years before completion. The new school is scheduled to be completed in June of 2024. At that point, the current CCHS building, except the gym, will be demolished, and a parking lot will be constructed in its place, prior to the start of the 2024-25 school term.