Shut East Fayette Elementary School?

Tue, 09/18/2007 - 4:28pm
By: John Thompson

Redistricting may shutter county’s oldest elementary school

Is Fayette County close to shutting the doors to one of its schools even as it’s building one new elementary school and planning for a second?

That’s one of the options the committee that’s looking at redrawing elementary school lines will mull over during the next two months.

During last week’s committee meeting, Assistant Superintendent Sam Sweat told the committee that consultant Carey Kelly recommended the committee present at least three options to the board for a final approval.

The committee is working on the first option, which involves redistricting the lines to accommodate the school’s existing 17 elementary schools and the two new schools in Inman and on Tillman Road in the center of the county.

Inman is under construction and will open fall 2008, while Tillman Road school exists only on paper at this point.

The second option would be to close an older school and draw new maps to accommodate the students in 18 schools.

“I’m talking to Mr. Carey to get an idea about the third option,” Sweat said.

If the system decides to shut down a school, one of the more likely options is East Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville.

In fact, in two weeks committee members will tour Cleveland Elementary and East Fayette to get a feel of what the county’s newest school looks like, compared to the oldest school in the county.

“Our facilities assessment showed the committee that [East Fayette Elementary] school was built in 1955,” Sweat said. He added the system’s growth rate has dramatically slowed.

During Monday night’s school board meeting, Sweat told the board the committee was just starting to work on the base map and expects many adjustments to be made during this Thursday’s meeting. He also said the different options would be voted on by the committee and then communicated to the board in November.

After that, he expects to stage a public hearing on the preferred option with the school board and the public. He also was happy with how the process has unfolded.

“With opening the meeting up, we’ve had some interested parents come by and observe,” he said.

Sweat hopes that after the public hearing is completed in November, the school board will be able to choose an option and make a final decision at the Dec. 17 board meeting.

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Submitted by NinaLynn on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 7:16am.

Ok, let's not get nasty now little birdie. I met the Sweats at school. They and their children are very sweet. If they were snobby,why don't they live closer to Sara Harp or in P.T.C. and not in E.Faye' area??? Sour grapes perhaps?
Mr. Daniel,I imagine the children would end up going to the new school that is being built,corner of 92 South and Inman Road. Time will tell. I agree with why close down a building because of age? Spend time and $$$$$ building new,why?
"He added the system’s growth rate has dramatically slowed." Mr. Sweat, really??? It seems so many are moving into Fayette and after closing down a school,one day we'll be sorry we did. We'll be a day late and a dollar short! And, why build new then if "the growth rate has slowed"?

alittlebirdietoldme's picture
Submitted by alittlebirdietoldme on Wed, 09/19/2007 - 3:57pm.

Interesting fact #1...Sam Sweat and his snooty wife live in the East Fayette Elementary District.

Interesting Fact #2....They chose to send their youngest to Sarah Harp Minter instead.

This is no surprise. Bet it was her idea.

Newsboy's picture
Submitted by Newsboy on Tue, 09/18/2007 - 7:37pm.

Most people are aware that the building housing EAST FAYETTE ELEMENTARY was FAYETTE COUNTY JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL before being converted into an elementary school in the late 1980s. However, few may know that the building was erected in 1955 as the FAYETTE COUNTY TRAINING CENTER, the county's all-black school before desegregation. It consolidated all grades for the county's African-American students under one roof and was, at the time, the most modern school facility in the county.

IRONICALLY ... just one year before, in 1954, the original (all-white) Fayette County High School burned to the ground at its former site, where the BOE offices are located now. Because the county had gone into such debt paying for the new Training Center, it was several years before a new FCHS campus was finally reopened at the location everybody now knows as Old FCHS, or the LaFayette Education Center.



Submitted by susieq on Tue, 09/18/2007 - 8:32pm.

The new FCHS campus opened in the fall of 1955. The first graduating class was spring 1956. I was there.

Submitted by Daniel Ross on Tue, 09/18/2007 - 6:50pm.

Why should they close the oldest school in the county?

It's historic--and dilapidated.

The county has let a landmark slowly decompose in front of the eyes of the public.

Yes, people like sparkly, shiny, 21st century buildings to put their kids in, but why waste the time, money, and land to build another building when the oldest school in the county just goes to waste.

I think the BoE should refurbish this building before building another over on Tillman Road.

Plus, what about the commute for the parents to take their kids further away to school?

Would they go to Sara Harp Minter or Hood Avenue?

This building should be a historical landmark like the depot, the courthouse, and the building the houses the Historical Society.

The old Fayette High hasn't been closed, they still use it for other education purposes.

If classes are canceled at East Fayette, then maybe the BoE can find good use for this building.

Submitted by heebeegeebees on Tue, 09/18/2007 - 9:10pm.

A) closing East Fayette is only one proposal out of 3.

B) Hood and Fayetteville Intermediate are VERY FULL (almost 1000 students) and also a very old schools in need of remodeling and lots of updates. Unfortunately, updating an old school involves a LOT of expense and hassle (busting out concrete to re-do plumbing, re-wiring, etc). These old schools are also 'grandfathered' in with very old or non-existent zoning, and would have to be brought up to code legally when remodelled.

I like our old 'Mayberry' era school, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a 'historic landmark'. It boasts a luxurious cinderblock interior Smiling

Submitted by Daniel Ross on Tue, 09/18/2007 - 9:32pm.

I called it a historic landmark because of it's past (being an all-black school in 1955).

If we celebrate the depot (Fayetteville's welcome center), the Courthouse (why wouldn't we), the Holiday-Fife House, Margaret Mitchell, and the Fayette County Women's Academy (later shortened to the Fayette County Academy and made co-ed-->this was located on the land were the Fayetteville City Hall is located), then why shouldn't we celebrate the history of our schooling system?

Scandalous or not, it should be shared with all. If the whole building cannot be kept standing, then at least a historical marker or recognition of some sort should take place.

Submitted by bladderq on Tue, 09/18/2007 - 9:47pm.

I say put it up for surplus bid. If you can git enough like minded souls to buy it & save it and make it pay for itself.. Good. I grew up in Coweta county & it don't mean nothin' to me & I don't want to see it on my tax bill.
Maybe the developer that buys it will turn it into lofts like Bass High in ATL. or just use the fascade. Well, if he can git zoning.

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