PTO takes tour of BCMS

Published 5:14 pm Friday, March 27, 2009

Devin Bonner and Justin Oikle enjoyed their first tour of the still-yet-to-be completed Butler County Magnet School, but both of their faces lit up at the prospect of playing in the school’s gymnasium.

“I know it’s going to bring in a lot of fans,” said Bonner, an eighth grader who explored the school along with hundreds of other Georgiana teachers, parents and students on Monday.

And even with the school’s curriculum aimed at preparing students for careers in health, engineering or graphic design, Kevin Gunnison, project manager for the on-going construction, admitted the gymnasium would be one of highlights of the school.

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“It’s going to be something this community will rally around because it’s going to be a state competition-level gymnasium,” he said.

Like Bonner, Oikle plays basketball. And he’s just as excited about attending school at the BCMS next year.

“I think I’m going to like it,” he said. “It’s going to be more technological and help educate us more efficiently.”

Gunnison said the school will be completed by June 1. He said construction, for the most part, had gone smoothly.

“We’ve had some days where Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with us,” he said. “But the contractors have done an excellent job in working to get the school finished and on time.”

The $14 million facility will consolidate Georgiana High School and Robert L. Austin Elementary School. It’s located across from the city’s National Guard Armory and recreation parks on U.S. 31 and Gunnison said some people might question the choice of location.

“It’s been our experience that when a new school is built the community embraces it,” he said. “You come back in three years and see what’s around the school and then you’ll understand why it’s there.”

Georgiana teacher Tammy Pickard, named the system’s Secondary Teacher of the Year in February, also toured her future home on Monday.

“I can hardly contain myself,” she said. “I can’t wait. Just the space we will have and working with the new technology…it’s going to change the way we teach.”

There’s also plenty of room for expansion, said Gunnison. More rooms can be added to both the elementary and high school sides of the building, he said. Contractors have also leveled out a regulation-sized practice football field with enough land for a future stadium to be constructed around it.