The nearly completed Lamar-Milledge Elementary School is a ghost of the past.
Its exterior has new brick and its walls a fresh coat of paint, but the finished product is still a snapshot of decades ago.
When architects sketched plans to replace the building in 2010, they used an old photo and color drawing of the original school built in the early 1900s.
“People in the community wanted that,” said Robert S. Woodhurst III, the president of Woodhurst Architects. “They wanted us to make it look like it used to.”
Built using money from the third round of the special purpose local option sales tax, the $12.1 million building will open in August for more than 400 pupils in the Harrisburg neighborhood.
On Tuesday, seven Richmond County Board of Education members, administrators and builders toured Lamar-Milledge and Freedom Park elementary schools, two of the four remaining construction projects from the tax’s third phase.
Board members approved both projects at the end of the tour. The fourth phase of the tax projects, which adds a 1-cent sales tax to all Richmond County purchases, was approved by voters March 6.
Of the dozens of projects for the fourth phase, 13 are in the design stage and construction will begin later this year, according to Doug Pinkston, the senior project manager for Hanscomb/GMK, which is assisting the district with its building projects.
Still incomplete from phase III are the new Richmond County Career Technical Magnet and A. Dorothy Hains Elementary schools, scheduled to open in October and November, respectively.
Board member Marion Barnes
said the new Lamar-Milledge Elementary will bring a much-needed
revitalization to the neighborhood in his district.
Barnes said the school, bordered by historic homes and one block from The Corner Store, adds infrastructure and vitality.
“It’s going to help clean up the area,” Barnes said. “This community needs something like this. Other than this, there’s no enterprise. There’s the school and the store, so I think this is going to be great.”
During almost two years of construction, students who would have attended the school were taught at Lamar Elementary on Baker Avenue.
In August, those pupils will move to the new Lamar-Milledge on Eve Street, and the old Lamar school will temporarily house the ninth-grade class of the technical magnet high school until its building on Augusta Technical College’s
campus is complete in October.
Lamar-Milledge was built with a colorful, exciting interior but with energy conservation in mind, said
Benton Starks, the school system’s director of facilities services.
The windows have an old-fashioned style but are built with sun screens to keep classrooms cool and cut energy costs, Starks said. Each room has individual heating and air-conditioning units to control temperatures based on capacity, and the lights have motion sensors to switch off when rooms are vacant.
Freedom Park had a $4.9 million makeover, which added a gymnasium and a middle school wing.
Students were housed in portable classrooms during construction. The building will be ready in August, Starks said.
Superintendent Frank Roberson said the projects are needed maintenance that enhance learning and motivate teachers.
“My first impression was how appreciative the children must be, and the teachers, to be in that teaching and learning environment,” Roberson said. “It’s going to be wonderful to learn in these new buildings.”