Originally created 01/09/98

Trustees approve opening new schools



Students and teachers move the last of their things into two new Richmond County schools today after school trustees accepted the nearly finished buildings Thursday.

Trustees voted 9-0 to proceed with opening McBean Elementary School and the new John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School campus next week. The schools were the dominant item Thursday on a light agenda that included honoring T.W. Josey High School's girls basketball coach.

Both schools should open to students Wednesday, since Monday and Tuesday are teacher workdays when children will be off.

Although work remains at both sites -- such as fixing tile floors and finishing Davidson's expansive theater -- nothing is serious enough to delay the openings, trustees said.

"Just like when you move into a new house, you've got some things, some bugs in the system, that only constant use will find," said trustee Andrew Jefferson.

Board members toured the new buildings earlier in the week and were given lists of what remains to be done Thursday night.

The new Davidson school is a large four-building campus off 12th Street. Students will forgo classes today to tote textbooks and personal items to the new campus and enjoy a picnic lunch in their new environment, said Principal Beverly Barnhart.

McBean Elementary, modeled after Tobacco Road Elementary, will house 320 children shifting from Floyd Graham Elementary School.

Also on Thursday, trustees and school leaders passed along state lifetime achievement awards to Lynn Brantley, Josey's girls basketball coach for 27 years. Ms. Brantley's teams have won 559 games in her career, including the current 10-0 record. Associate Superintendent Willie Mazyck called her the winningest female basketball coach in Georgia history.

"Ms. Brantley has done so much for T.W. Josey, I could be here all night telling you what she's done," Dr. Mazyck said.

The coach expressed her thanks for three awards she received, but said the real tribute goes to the 522 girls who've played for her and keep her coming back.

"There are a lot people out there waiting for my job," Ms. Brantley said, drawing laughs. "I might wear out, but I'll never burn out."