The Columbia County school board approved an about $15.2 million bid Tuesday to build a new Columbia Middle School.
McDonald Construction, based in Vidalia, Ga., won the bid and likely will start construction once site work concludes.
Work clearing the site on William Few Parkway started this year. The board spent about $1.1 million in October to purchase six parcels near Grovetown High for the new school to replace the more than 50-year-old school on Columbia Road.
Officials said the floor plan for the new school will be similar to the two-story Stallings Island Middle School in Martinez.
The replacement school is part of a $188 million 1-percent sales tax package voters approved in July 2010.
Work already is underway to construct a new Evans Elementary near the current school on Gibbs Road.
Once it and Columbia Middle open in August 2013, work likely will start on a new Martinez Elementary. Unlike the other schools, Martinez Elementary will be rebuilt at its current site.
Superintendent Charles Nagle has said that pupils zoned for Martinez Elementary will temporarily move to Bel Air Elementary. Construction crews then will raze the current school and build a larger one costing about $12.5 million in its place.
Once the new Martinez Elementary opens in August 2014, pupils at Bel Air Elementary will be rezoned for Martinez and Evans elementary schools.
School officials intend to close Bel Air Elementary, but don’t know yet what will become of that property, which is located on a commercial corridor along North Belair Road.
Also at the meeting, the board named Lance Poss the new director of public safety for the school system.
After working as a Columbia County sheriff’s deputy, Poss joined the school system public safety office 16 years ago. He primarily patrolled Evans High and surrounding schools.
Poss replaces Robert “Buddy” Hendry, who died last month following a battle with lung cancer.
Nagle said that Hendry picked Poss to replace before his death.
Poss noted that the school safety officers banded together during Hendry’s illness in an effort to make him proud.
“That’s the leadership I want to strive for,” Poss told the board. “I want to do the best job I possibly can.”
Poss assumes the new role July 1.