Richmond County is eagerly anticipating the opening of its new Belair Middle School, scheduled for August 6th. However, there's uncertainty looming over whether the construction will be completed in time for the upcoming school year.

Construction on the new Belair Middle School began in December 2022 with the goal for it to be ready by fall 2024. According to Jeff Baker, the Building Program Director for the Richmond County School System, the project has faced numerous challenges that have potentially impacted its timely completion.

"The school itself has been under a very tight schedule since its onset," explains Baker. "We had to acquire the property, navigate state approvals, and undertake extensive civil engineering designs specific to the site adaptation of the school."

Located off Wrightsboro Road, Belair Middle School still sees construction trucks and workers diligently completing their tasks in the final stretch before the opening deadline.

Twelve additional classrooms were added to this project to increase the operating capacity of the school from 800 enrollment to 1,000 enrollment. These additional classrooms are not planned to be ready for the opening of school but soon, after opening the main campus. 

Patricia Geter, a community influencer and activist, highlights the importance of the new school in alleviating overcrowding issues currently faced at Belair K-8. "It’s a good thing that Belair Middle School is going to ease some overcrowding over there," Geter remarks. However, like many parents in the community, she expresses concern about the potential consequences if the school does not open on time.

"This is a new school," says Geter. "I’m not sure if they will have new teachers also. So, moving them to an alternate location could cause quite a bit of disruption to the families."

The School System is reviewing the actually construction status, the Plan for phased construction opening, and the time needed for an appropriate move-in schedule. Considering what will be best for administration, staff, and students all together.

In response to these concerns, Baker reassures the community that they are exploring all options to ensure minimal disruption to students and their families. The decision on whether the school will open as scheduled is expected later this week.

As the deadline approaches, the community eagerly awaits the final verdict, hopeful that the new Belair Middle School will indeed open its doors on time.

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