Big plans for Dawson County’s alternative school are moving forward.
Most recently, the board of education approved a name change. Beginning in 2011, Crossroads will be known as Hightower Academy.
The name change coincides with the upcoming construction of the new 15,000-square-foot facility on Perimeter Road. Officials plan to break ground in the next couple months.
Anthony Guisasola, school principal, said the name change is fitting because the name, Crossroads, came from a state mandate 15 years ago.
The name was linked with students in need of disciplinary action.
Guisasola said a vast majority of students now attend the school for “credit recovery,” meaning they lost class credit due to excessive absences. Others attend to accelerate their graduation if they’re ready to get started in the workforce.
“The role of our school has really changed,” Guisasola said. “It’s changed dramatically over the last six or seven years.
“When I came here seven years ago, 80 percent of our students were here for discipline. Now, 80 percent are here for credit recovery,” he said.
Guisasola said officials were looking for a school name that “fit the history of this county.”
In talks with longtime resident and historian Charles Finley and school officials, the name Hightower was decide upon. It’s an old mispronunciation of the word Etowah, Guisasola said.
“We talked about the idea that a high tower provides structure and something to reach for. We want our students, ultimately, to reach for the goal of graduating and have some sort of vocational certification as well,” he said.
Currently, the school is located in what used to be a phone company’s warehouse on Allen St.
Staff and students will soon 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.