New Classrooms Will Add Room for 5,000 More Students by 2028

Photo shows McDonough High School during construction with partial build-out of the new building (MEJA Construction, Inc. photo).
McDonough High School under construction in 2018. (MEJA Construction, Inc. photo)

Whenever MHF News shares an update on new residential construction, the question arises about school capacity. Presently, the district has capacity for another 3,000 students. In addition, upcoming capital projects will add room for another 5,000 new students by 2028.

In 2021, voters approved the education SPLOST VI program. This included nine classroom capacity projects. The school board will host a ribbon cutting this month for the first project.

Room for 5,000 New Students

Education SPLOST VI includes constructing a new STEM high school, two new elementary schools and six classroom additions at either middle or high schools. Altogether, the nine capacity projects will add room for 5,180 new students.

The first project, to build sixteen new classrooms at Dutchtown High School, is complete this spring. Students will move into the new rooms in August. In addition, a new elementary school is under construction in McDonough. Birch Creek Elementary is off Willow Lane. It will open next year.

All projects will begin within the next three years and be complete by 2028. Projects include the following new schools:

  • STEM High School in Stockbridge (in design),
  • New elementary school in McDonough (under construction), and
  • New elementary school in Locust Grove.

Finally, classroom additions include the following:

  • Dutchtown High School (complete),
  • Dutchtown Middle School,
  • Ola High School,
  • Ola Middle School,
  • Locust Grove High School, and
  • Union Grove Middle School.

Related: take a look at the E-SPLOST VI project timelines.

Board Feedback

District staff provide a monthly update on capital projects during the school board meeting. At the April meeting, school board member Pam Nutt asked how the district could best be prepared to address new growth. She referenced the early 2000s when the district experienced tremendous growth and there were hundreds of classroom trailers in use; she did not want to experience that again.

In response, Chief Operations Officer Josh Malcom shared at the peak in the 2000s, there were over 800 classroom trailers in Henry County. Right now, there are slightly more than forty. The classroom capacity projects outlined in E-SPLOST VI will eliminate all current trailers. The district also monitors new residential development to project capacity needs at specific schools.

Each education SPLOST program covers a five-year period. The E-SPLOST VII program, slated to be on the ballot in 2026, will allow Henry County Schools to program additional projects based on needs at the time.

Featured image shows McDonough High School under construction in 2018. MEJA Construction, Inc. photo.

About Clayton 1406 Articles
Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. He founded the site in 2017 to highlight transportation projects. Over time, he began covering other topics like new development so residents can best know what’s happening in our community.