Education summit planned at W.O. Parmer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 11, 2007

Those who want to be &#8220in the know” on the plans for solutions to Butler County's aging school buildings crisis are encouraged to be at W. O. Parmer Elementary School Gym next Monday, January 15 in Greenville.

An education summit is planned for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day, following the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast across town at the Dunbar Center.

&#8220We will be discussing the condition of our school buildings and possible solutions to our problems at this event. We want to encourage everyone to make every effort to attend this very important meeting,” Butler County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney.

Included on the agenda for the summit: a formal presentation relating the facilities study, system performance, and school finances; a Q & A time; discussion time, and development of action plan steps.

Among those who are slated to attend the meeting are Senator Wendell Mitchell, Representative Charles Newton, Mayors McLendon (Greenville), Stinson (McKenzie) and Watson (Georgiana), all city council members, Butler County Commission members, clergy and members of the Butler County Board of Education, along with interested citizenry.

&#8220We have important decisions that need to be made and we want as much helpful input as possible,” Looney said.

Looney reported to the Board of Education

on the current condition of the system’s facilities during a workshop held at the central office in November.

Looney’s report came on the heels of a survey conducted under the direction of Wayne Boswell, administrative assistant for operations, which indicated that improvements and new construction to all county schools located in Greenville, Georgiana, and McKenzie could cost between $20 to $28 million.

The $28 million cost includes construction of a new school in Georgiana that would consolidate Georgiana High School and Robert L. Austin Elementary.

The new facility would cost $14.6 million.

Both R.L. Austin and Georgiana High would be abandoned, per the architect’s recommendation, and along with the new Georgiana school, an athletic complex would be constructed at Greenville High School, new classrooms and a cafeteria would built at W.O. Parmer, and McKenzie School, Greenville Middle School, and Greenville Elementary would received millions of dollars in renovations.

The $20 million plan only allows for renovations to the two Georgiana schools and even then the only guarantee from the architect is an additional 15 years of building life for the two facilities.