• 82°

New high school dedicated Sunday

With the audience answering “We dedicate this school” back to Superintendent of Schools Ralph Jones after he read passages of the hopes, dreams and promises the new Bainbridge High School holds, the new facility was officially dedicated Sunday.

School board members, Bainbridge High School administrators and principal construction officials expressed their appreciation and touted how well the project progressed.

“It is with much pride and gratitude that the faculty, students and staff of BHS have begun our school year at this new facility,” said BHS Principal Tommie Howell, who noted that he was a native son of Decatur County and a graduate of BHS. “The school is absolutely beautiful, and we are very aware of our responsibility and obligation to take good care of it and to provide the very best education opportunities to our students.”

Jones thanked the community for its support of the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) and the commitment from the Georgia Department of Education, which were the principal funding sources for the $46.8 million building project.

The total cost of the project was more than $52.6 million, which included several funding sources that the school system obtained through grants, such as E-rate federal telecommunications money that was earmarked for the fiber optics and network servers at the new high school. There was also state bond money the district is receiving for new equipment such as the tools used in the construction labs and appliances used in the home economic classes.

“Being good stewards of the sales tax dollars and having a state-of-the-art school at completion has been paramount with every decision involving the design and construction,” Jones said Sunday. “The work has been challenging and demanding, yet rewarding.

“What is also unique and wonderful about this school is that every child who is enrolled in our school system will have the opportunity to attend this school,” he said.

Architects Keith Barrett and Walt Altman, who worked together at one firm and then started their own firm approximately three to four months prior to winning the bid on the new high school, said the success of this school has propelled them to devoting their talents to educational projects. Both architects have parents who were educators.

Following the success of this project, Altman said of the new high school, “This is the hallmark we can be proud of.”

Lyndy Jones of JCI Construction of Moultrie and Bill Weldon of Allstate Construction in Tallahassee, Fla., formed for the first time a joint venture for this project.

Lyndy Jones cited Decatur County School Maintenance Director Jerry Mills.

“I think that his involvement made the project a great success,” Lyndy Jones said.

Superintendent Jones later asked Mills to stand and complimented him for his dedication to the project, including being at the site at sometimes 4 a.m. to oversee the pouring of concrete.

As the superintendent said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but ole Jerry wasn’t the foreman.”