New proposed school zones for four Columbia County middle schools were unveiled Tuesday at the county school board meeting.
School board members got the first glimpse of the proposed rezoning, which is prompted by the new Columbia Middle School opening on William Few Parkway next school year.
Under the proposed plan, Evans and Grovetown Middle schools would see the biggest changes to its pupil populations.
By the start of next school year, Grovetown Middle’s estimated population would drop from 1013 to 821 pupils, while Evans Middle would increase in size from 763 to 931 pupils. Both projections were over capacity for the schools.
School board member Mike Sleeper said he was “a little disturbed” that Evans Middle would be 131 pupils over capacity.
To counter the high enrollments, school Superintendent Charles Nagle said they need to begin planning for additional classrooms at Evans and Grovetown Middle schools.
“We’re putting them at a strain, but we’re not looking at that area – Evans Middle – growing as much,” he said. “We’re trying to relieve the other schools (Grovetown and Columbia Middle) because that’s a fast growing area.
About 168 pupils, transferring from Columbia and Grovetown Middle schools, would be added to Evans Middle. About 192 pupils at Grovetown Middle would be redistributed, with the majority going to the new Columbia Middle.
Fifteen students at Greenbrier Middle also would be relocated to Columbia Middle.
“We’re talking about 2,700 students that we’re trying to fit into three buildings,” said Robert Jarrell, assistant superintendent for student support.
The plan calls for pupils living in the Merrymont and Quail Creek subdivisions to shift to Evans Middle.
Pupils living off Chamblin Road, south of Interstate 20 and north of Wrightsboro Road, and off Louisville Road, south of Heggies Ridge Drive, would be rezoned to the new Columbia Middle.
Another option could be added to the plan addressing students on Blanchard Road currently zoned for Greenbrier schools.
Board chairwoman Regina Buccafusco said she believes this rezoning could prove to be contentious.
“This one is much more controversial than the elementary rezoning,” she said.
A public hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at the current Columbia Middle for parents and others affected by the rezoning.
At the meeting, the school board also approved new elementary school zones needed for the 2013 opening of Evans Elementary School.
The pupil population at Bel Air Elementary School will be split in half between Evans and Martinez Elementary schools.
While Bel Air Elementary is closing after this school year, the campus will be used by Martinez Elementary as its current building is razed and rebuilt. The new school is expected to open in August 2014.