A planned middle school for Blackstone Camp Road will be new to the county in more ways than one.
The new Martinez school will be the Columbia County system's only two-story school.
School officials recently presented architectural drawings of the school to the school board, featuring a U-shaped design with a gymnasium off to the side.
"We're going to have the same amenities with this school as we do with all the others, but by building it as a two-story building it's going to take less land space," Associate Superintendent Charles Nagle said.
The board purchased about 26 acres for the school earlier this month at a cost of about $900,000.
Typically, a single-story middle school requires between 35 and 39 acres.
The two-story design saved the system about $300,000, Mr. Nagle said.
Although the board saved on land costs, Mr. Nagle doubts it will encounter the same kind of savings on construction.
"On building the building, I don't know that there will be any savings," he said. "We're building the same amount of square footage as other middle schools. We're just building it up."
The new Evans Middle School now under construction on Hereford Farm Road will cost about $12 million, Mr. Nagle said. He expects the same price tag for the Blackstone Camp Road project.
Mr. Nagle said he is unsure whether the new two-story design will become the model for middle-school construction in the county, but he said officials are "real excited" with the design.
The first story of the school will house sixth-grade classes, a commons area, school offices and connection classes - technology, business, art and music rooms. Seventh- and eighth-grade classes, along with the media center, will be on the second story, Mr. Nagle said.
"In the media center, we'll have a glass wall overlooking the commons area," Mr. Nagle said.
"Building it as two stories already makes it unique, but little things like that just make it even more unique."
Reach Donnie Fetter at 868-1222, ext. 113, or firstname.lastname@example.org.