At a Columbia County school board meeting in Appling on Tuesday, Chairman Wayne Bridges recognized the end of an era.
"I'm assuming this is a pretty momentous day in our county with our last board meeting in Appling," he said.
School officials moved into a new three-story administration building on Hereford Farm Road earlier this month, vacating the Appling office, which is 35 years old.
Minor construction work continues on the bottom two floors at the new office, but should be completed soon, said Tim Beatty, the system's executive director of facilities, maintenance and operations.
Contractors "need to finish some carpet installation, some work in the stairwells and some around the reception desk, but that's about it," Beatty said.
Once that is completed, construction crews will begin on the third floor, which is mostly an empty shell at this point, Beatty said.
The board has spent about $4.6 million on the new building and will spend an additional $587,535 to complete the third floor, he said.
The cost is worth improving the delivery of school system services and saving time because the new office is more centrally located, Associate School Superintendent Charles Nagle said.
"When I was in Appling, if I had to go to Martinez Elementary it would take 30 minutes in drive time. Then I'd have to turn around and come back," Nagle said. "That's an hour of my day spent on the road that I can put to better use."
Before, the system's administrative offices were split between Appling and a Grovetown complex. The larger building in Evans brings nearly all the system's administrative departments under one roof, Nagle said.
Most of Associate Superintendent Lauren William's staff were in Grovetown, he said.
"Any time they need to work together, or meet, it was an inconvenience. Now, they're right down the hall from one another," he said.
The Appling office won't be abandoned. It is now the home of the system's technology department.
Offices in the Grovetown complex will be used to expand the Columbia County Board of Education Alternative School.
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