Education

More News | |

Columbia County schools hit record enrollment

Cyber Command plans add boost

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014 7:21 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 9:09 AM
  • Follow Back to school

One week into the new school year, the Columbia County School System already has hit an all-time high enrollment and is projected to keep growing as more students filter in through Labor Day, according to Associate Superintendent Jeff Carney.

Back | Next
Children wait at tables before dismissal at Baker Place Elementary School. Enrollment in the Columbia County School System reached 25,201 students on Tuesday - about 600 more than what the system started and ended with in the 2013-14 academic year.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Children wait at tables before dismissal at Baker Place Elementary School. Enrollment in the Columbia County School System reached 25,201 students on Tuesday - about 600 more than what the system started and ended with in the 2013-14 academic year.

Enrollment reached 25,201 students on Tuesday – about 600 more than what the system started and ended with in the 2013-14 academic year.

Carney said district officials believe the growth is the result of military families trickling in to Evans and Grovetown as the Army prepares to develop its Cyber Command headquarters on Fort Gordon.

J.C. Mathews, Fort Gordon’s public affairs officer, said that although the manpower for the Cyber Command will not arrive before 2017, the Army post is experiencing other growth that brought nearly 500 new service members and their families last year and a projected 1,100 this year.

Although officials in Richmond County expect to receive some of the incoming families from Fort Gordon’s expansion – enough to begin planning for a new K-8 school in west Augusta – the district’s schools have had a slower start.

Richmond County schools opened Monday with 28,091 students, fewer than the 30,436 enrolled in the first week last year and the 31,342 that ended that year.

Superintendent Frank Roberson said that the fluctuation is natural and that he expects about 3,000 more students to continue registering until Labor Day, a trend that has played out for the past several years.

“We’ve always received historically about 3,000 students in the first two to three weeks of school, so we’re looking for that to still be the case,” Roberson said. “We should end up probably somewhere around 30,000.”

To accommodate the extra students in Columbia County, the district set up about 24 portable classrooms at various schools, Carney said. There are also potential plans to build additional classroom wings onto Baker Place and Cedar Ridge elementary schools.

Carney said the elementary schools have had the highest enrollment growth, with Baker Place in Grovetown and Lewiston in Evans seeing the largest increases.

During the summer, district facilities staffers set up about eight additional portables at Baker Place to brace for the influx, Carney said.

Lewiston Place Principal Mike Doolittle said enrollment reached 878 on Tuesday, an increase of 143 students from last year. The school has had to increase the number of classes and hire four additional teachers than originally projected.

With continued construction in the community surrounding the elementary school on Hereford Farm Road in Evans, Doolittle said, he expects even more students to register in coming weeks.

Although they haven’t needed them yet, school officials are prepared to fill up their two portables if needed.

“It’s kept us pretty busy,” Doolittle said. “We expected growth, but we didn’t expect all this. Over the past two to three years our growth has come slow and steady, but this year it was just fast.”

Comments (21) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
countyman
20129
Points
countyman 08/12/14 - 08:43 pm
1
11
Odd??

The principal of ARC said her school is close to 1300 students.. I guess Richmond County can't get more than one paragraph except for the articles involving crime.. What's the point of the CC News Times if the Augusta Chronicle spends the majority of any positive article focusing on CC?

I'm positive the media will give most of the credit to Columbia County for the Flowing Wells Circle shopping center... The Gander Mountain, Carmax, and Gateway complex is the beginning of a mixed use development(200-300k sq. ft. center)..

Gage Creed
17236
Points
Gage Creed 08/12/14 - 08:43 pm
7
1
Factss

Man those grapes are sour!

Pops
8520
Points
Pops 08/12/14 - 08:51 pm
6
1
Both counties

should see growth from the influx of new people........

Butterman
3680
Points
Butterman 08/13/14 - 09:27 am
6
1
No surprise here
Unpublished

cyber command families are choosing Columbia County over Richmond County... and the schools are probably the #1 reason why. Facts sure are pesky things.

Riverman1
84039
Points
Riverman1 08/13/14 - 03:38 am
6
1
Numbers

Interesting that Columbia County schools have about 25,000 students while Richmond County schools only 28,000 even though the county has a much larger population. Also, if Richmond C. expects 3,000 more to enroll by Labor Day I wonder how many more Columbia C. expects to sign up?

Proud2Serve
187
Points
Proud2Serve 08/13/14 - 02:24 am
8
1
News is news

Columbia County just has more good news. I agree. When fellow Soldiers who are headed to Fort Gordon find out I am from Augusta, I am often asked where they should live. I tell everyone one of them to avoid Richmond County.

I own property in Richmond County, I pay taxes to Richmond County; and I regret it every December. I'm just thankful my kids don't have to attend school here. If I had it to do all over again I would have paid a little more and got something in Columbia County.

Riverman1
84039
Points
Riverman1 08/13/14 - 04:22 am
7
1
@Countyman

"What's the point of the CC News Times if the Augusta Chronicle spends the majority of any positive article focusing on CC?"

I'd guess that a large portion of paying readers live in Columbia County is why. Just a guess like some of the other comments I see often. What do you think the reason is?

geecheeriverman
2473
Points
geecheeriverman 08/13/14 - 04:32 am
5
1
out of county

I suspect some of the new students in CC are coming in from RC. This has been an ongoing problem for CC schools for several years. I don't blame some RC parents for wanting to get out of the RC school system, but this does cause a problem for CC officials.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 08/13/14 - 07:57 am
4
3
Over crowded schools

Columbia county will need a bigger boat!

School taxes will go up ...look for it.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 08/13/14 - 01:00 pm
3
4
Double standards..

The 1300 students at ARC obviously has nothing to do with the home construction outside Gate 1 of Fort Gordon...

The outlet mall, augusta renewable energy facility, movie theater, starbucks plant, two defense contractors in under 30 days, rockwood plant, cabela's, etc in Richmond County is obviously not good news... The Gander Mountain in Columbia County clearly dwarfs all of the construction in Richmond County..

The Columbia County tags at Davidson must be a figment of imagination... I don't blame the parents in Columbia County for wanting to attend the best high/middle school in Georgia..

The future of CSRA is very unpredictable based on the constant double standards in the media and population.. Why can't some people understand they can praise CC without bringing down RC? Why do some people want the third largest county in terms of population, industry, jobs, etc to have all of the spotlight?

Can someone please inform me how telling people to avoid RC and move to CC is helping the CSRA? What county do the majority of people in the CSRA rely on? What county does Fort Gordon rely on the most? What county is the growth of the medical community mostly depended on? The last time I checked almost 30,000 residents from CC already commute to RC daily.. Steering people to CC is not doing anything to help the CSRA overall..

Riverman loves to get on here and bring up the growth rate in Columbia County.. What has the growth in CC over the last ten years done for the entire CSRA? The growth helped add Lincoln county to the MSA, but didn't help bring any jobs to LC.. The growth helped Augusta land the outlet mall, but the outlet mall would have occurred regardless.. The Village at Riverwatch offers some of the best demographics in the CSRA and landed the mall over the Grovetown I-20 exit.. The growth of CC will mostly affect Columbia County and that's it.. Richmond County grew much slower between 2000-2010 and still outperformed Columbia County in terms of attracting industry/jobs(ADP, T-Mobile, Convergent, NSA, dental school, etc)..

Riverman1
84039
Points
Riverman1 08/13/14 - 01:10 pm
4
0
Helping Soldiers Is All

"Can someone please inform me how telling people to avoid RC and move to CC is helping the CSRA?"

I don't believe the soldier telling others to move to Columbia County is trying to hurt Richmond County or the CSRA. He's simply trying to help the soldiers. When I was in Wash DC moving here years ago, I was also told to move to Columbia County. Army folks looking out for Army folks.

Riverman1
84039
Points
Riverman1 08/13/14 - 01:09 pm
4
0
Was Columbia County Instrumental In Cyber Command Decision?

Countyman, why all the negativity about Columbia County? It is simply one of the fastest growing counties in the nation and has excellent neighborhoods, income level and schools. I suspect one of the reasons the Cyber Command chose to relocate at Ft. Gordon was because of Columbia County and what it offers. That's how Columbia County helps Richmond County and the entire CSRA. Sure it also helps attract stores, but that's not my major concern. They'll come sooner or later if they want to sell to the demographics.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 08/13/14 - 01:26 pm
1
4
Please inform me?

''I don't believe the soldier telling others to move to Columbia County is trying to hurt the Richmond County or the CSRA. He's simply trying to help the soldiers. When I was in Wash DC moving here years ago, I was also told to move to Columbia County. Army folks looking out for Army folks.''

The majority of growth in Columbia County is happening in Grovetown.. Many of the soldiers aren't even moving to the best areas in Columbia County(Evans, Martinez) which shows this is typical steering.. The schools in Grovetown might have gotten a little better, because of the realtors/residents who lied to everybody in the past and told them all the schools in CC were good.. The city limits of Grovetown is still lower middle class, because the expensive construction is mostly outside the city limits(Columbia rd, William Few pkwy, etc)..

The majority of steering in CC is based on the race and politics(democrats) in Richmond County.. The same growth patterns happen across the US...

How is telling people to avoid RC and move to CC considered helping the soldiers?

Why did the outlet mall choose Richmond over Columbia if CC is so much better? The Columbia County government created the outlet mall in the first place..

Why did the CEO of Electrolux(located in Martinez before moving to Charlotte) live in West Augusta instead of Martinez or Evans?

Simply telling people to move to CC is fine, but the same people usually have to put down RC a few seconds later..

The steering of people to CC is only hurting the CSRA.. The Cyber Command will cause the CSRA to build new infrastructure projects.. It's going to be hard to get the residents of South Augusta to jump on board.. If every time the media is bringing up the Cyber Command/Fort Gordon they never mention South Augusta..

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 08/13/14 - 01:42 pm
1
3
Double standard!!!

Why can't anybody ever say anything related to Columbia County? I didn't say anything negative about the county.. Everyday some of the people who live in the surrounding counties have to bash Richmond with their personal opinions..

Columbia County maybe one of the fastest growing counties, but the population is only 130,000.. The US Army didn't move from Maryland to Georgia because of a county with less than 150k.. There's also plenty of suburban counties in Maryland/Virginia surrounding DC with attractive neighborhoods, income levels, and schools...

I know you love Columbia County but let's put things into perspective... The CC government tried to use the 1.5 million tourist in RC per year, riverwalk, tee center, masters tournament, etc in order to attract the outlet mall.. There's no way the US Army is moving the Cyber Command here simply because of Columbia County.

willie7
955
Points
willie7 08/13/14 - 02:11 pm
0
0
Thank you countyman for your
Unpublished

Thank you countyman for your positive comments about Richmond County. He tooting your horn about Richmond county!!!!
Appreciate you!!!

Riverman1
84039
Points
Riverman1 08/13/14 - 02:40 pm
4
0
The Counties Are What They Are

Well, well, well, I didn't say simply because of Columbia County, but I'm pretty sure from my experiences that it has a LOT to do with them moving here. I lived in the DC area, where many of the Cyber folks are coming from, for 4 years when I was in the Army and can tell you the folks will be very happy with the Columbia County atmosphere, schools and home prices. I know many Ft. Gordon officers and they all live in Columbia County.

Look, I'm not trying to bash RC. It is what it is. I understand your pride in Richmond County. There's a place for downtown bars open until 2 AM with the LGBT population, but there's also the desired family environment in CC. It's nonsense to say the Columbia County schools shouldn't prepare for a huge influx of new kids.

Riverman1
84039
Points
Riverman1 08/13/14 - 03:03 pm
3
0
Richmond County may get some E-3's and below

Richmond County may get some E-3's and below, but I doubt they will strain the social services of the county because it is so good at providing these services already. When they move up in rank they'll probably move to CC in any case.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 08/13/14 - 02:56 pm
4
0
Stop it RM

My sides hurt already...:)

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 08/13/14 - 02:58 pm
3
0
why why why

Why does the earth circle the sun

Why do we have day & night

Why do we flock together

Why why why.....amazing

Riverman1
84039
Points
Riverman1 08/13/14 - 03:08 pm
3
0
Why do we flock together?

"Why do we flock together?"

Always been that way. Always will be that way. The king's daughter running away with the poet and all that.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 08/13/14 - 03:11 pm
3
0
hahah

Just don't FRACK near me...lol

see yall later

You are still smart jtf ---always will be in my book..:)

Proud2Serve
187
Points
Proud2Serve 08/14/14 - 01:35 am
1
0
Don't hurt me!

Richmond County is still going to benefit from Columbia County growth. The residents will go to the Mall and shop. They will go Downtown and drink at the bars; unless the RCSO continues makes that too much of a hassle. Until Columbia County decides to build a Mall and make owning a bar worth the effort, Richmond County will benefit.

I have said this before; I admire Countryman's love of Richmond County. I think they are bringing some great businesses to the area, and Augusta is slowly growing. But until they stop screwing their residents with tax increases, until the stop the police harassment, until the fraud waste and abuse within the Govt ends, until rental prices accurately reflect the market, why live there?

Countryman loves to quote the three neighborhoods that have overpriced real estate as justification for $1000 a month 1br apartments, but here is what he fails to realize, if I am going to pay as much or more to live in Richmond County and have to deal with the crime and high taxes, I may as well just live in Columbia County.

I live on the Richmond County side of Martinez. Sadly about 100 yards from Columbia County. I am a Richmond County resident. I pay Richmond County taxes. So I think I am qualified to comment on where is the better place to live.

Riverman has me figured out. I am always looking out for a fellow Soldier.

Molibeth
11
Points
Molibeth 08/15/14 - 08:28 pm
0
0
Military family prefers Richmond

We were told to live in Columbia county when we moved here to and I hated it. It was exactly like living on base, where the moving truck showed up every week and your neighbor changed every year. The next year we moved to West Augusta and found the best community with the best neighbors and my kids go to school with the same kids every year!! I love it.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Many black colleges struggling

Although Paine has struggled with its own failures over the past several years, HBCUs across the nation are dealing with some of the same troubles that are threatening their missions and existence.
Search Augusta jobs