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New Wilcox County PreK-12 School set to open next week

Julie Childers

Wilcox County School Superintendent

WILCOX COUNTY – Construction on the new Wilcox County PreK-12 grade School has progressed on schedule for the last eighteen months so the new school will open on time for the 2018-2019 school year.

The 170,000 square foot facility will house students in grades PreK-12 under one roof but grade levels are divided into three separate schools. Students in grades PreK-5 will occupy three wings of the building, students in grades 6-8 will be housed on one wing, and students in grades 9-12 will fill the remaining two wings. The new PreK-12 School will replace the fifty three year old Wilcox County High School and the twenty plus year old Wilcox Elementary and Wilcox Middle School buildings. Superintendent Julie Childers stated, “All 1185 students will reap the benefits of the new school. The school is equipped with the latest technology, Interactive Panels, in all 81 classrooms. All classrooms have new student and teacher desks and new student and teacher chairs. New cafeteria seating and kitchen equipment is also inside the shared lunchroom. The media center once completed will have new book shelves and seating for students.”

As we begin in the new PreK-12 school, plans to enhance school safety and increase preparedness are also being implemented. These added measures will further strengthen school safety and security at our new location.

Beginning in August 2018:

•Students will be required to use clear book bags in all grades PreK-12. We will have clear book bags available for purchase, at our cost, at the new school during open house.

•A Visitor Management System will be implemented at each of the front offices. Once school begins, parents wishing to go beyond

the front offices to have conferences with teachers, visit individuals on campus, etc. will be required to provide a photo ID such as a driver’s license. This ID will be scanned into our system and checked against nation-wide criminal databases.

•A toll-free phone number to report instances of bullying or other school related safety concerns will be available for all students, staff, parents, and community members.

•All staff in grades PK-12 and students in grades 6-12 will have identification badges that should be worn at all times.

Security measures already in place at the new school include:

•Electronic door access controls are in place which only grant access to school system staff. All visitors will be required to report to the front office to obtain entrance into the school.

• Closed circuit security cameras are placed strategically throughout the school. Over 100 cameras are constantly recording any movement within the school and around the outside of the campus.

•The school system is offering free breakfast and/or free lunch to uniformed local law enforcement to increase their presence daily in our schools.

•A school safety protocol is in place. The plan is reviewed and revisions are made as needed to ensure students are safe in our schools, on our athletic fields, on our school buses, and when involved in extracurricular activities.

•Local law enforcement and first responders trained with school system staff in late June regarding all the security features in the new school.

•The school system is partnering with local law enforcement to explore the possibility of funding a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) at the new school.

•School staff already conduct training, exercises, and preparedness activities with our students year-round to increase the safety and security within our schools. These trainings with our students will occur more frequently for the first several weeks we are in the new school.

The entire process has been amazing to watch and our new PK-12 School will serve our students and their families for the next several decades.

Our construction management firm, Parrish Construction and our architect, David Guerra with SRJ Architects Inc. have done a fabulous job coordinating all components of the job to keep us on schedule. As with any construction project, we are still completing items on our punch lists and finalizing graphics and interior decorations for the building. As the year progresses, the new school site will only get prettier both inside and outside.

Open house for the new school is scheduled for Wednesday, August 1, 2018 from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.