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Local school at a crossroads

POSTED: March 17, 2010 4:00 a.m.
Frank Reddy Dawson Community News/

Crossroads School students Kayla White, left, and Brooke Walters hit the books March 15 in Tammy Brinkley's class. A new facility is planned to house students of the school.

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The scope and makeup of Dawson County’s only alternative school has shifted over the years, according to Anthony Guisasola.

  

The Crossroads School principal said that of its 65 total students, about 10 percent of them attend the school for disciplinary reasons.

  

“Over the past seven or eight years, it’s really changed,” said Guisasola on March 15. “It used to be that 90 percent of the students were here for those discipline-related situations.”

  

Guisasola said most students at the school are there for “credit recovery,” meaning they lost class credit due to excessive absences. Others attend “to accelerate their graduation, because they’re ready to work.”

  

As the makeup of the school’s population changes to include new groups of students, perhaps it’s fitting that students and staff could soon have a new facility to call home.

  

In a March 8 meeting, the Dawson County Board of Education voted unanimously to move forward with a new Crossroads School building.

  

Currently, the school is located in what used to be a phone company’s warehouse on Allen Street.

  

“We really don’t have any traditional classroom facilities at all,” Guisasola said. “A new building could provide us with an opportunity to be in a facility that’s designed for our purposes.”

  

Guisasola said being housed in a new school building “sends a message to these students, that they are as important as any student in the school system.”

  

Funded by the latest 1-cent education sales tax referendum, school officials plan to locate the new facility on 3.6 acres next to Dawson County Middle School. Negotiations are ongoing regarding purchase of the property.

  

The school itself began about 14 years ago “in the old laundromat across from the middle school” Guisasola said. Students and staff have been in the current building for about four years.

  

In June 2010, staff and students will relocate temporarily to a wing of Dawson County Middle School, while the Dawson County campus of Lanier Technical College completes renovations to its facility.

  

Lanier Tech students will use the current Crossroads building in the interim.

Soon after, Guisasola said, the new building should be finished.

  

Superintendent Keith Porter said Crossroads’ current facility “was adapted to become a school ... but our desire all along was to actually construct a school building to meet the needs of those students.”

  

Porter expects the new building to be ready for use by the middle of the 2010-2011 school year.

 

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