It’s a new year, a new semester and a new facility for the JROTC cadets at Dawson County High School.
The new JROTC building opened its doors for the new semester Jan. 4, and the eager cadets spent their first day back from winter break moving their equipment into the new space.
“It’s got a lot more room and it’s a lot more functional,” said JROTC instructor Major Robert Wiley.
He and the cadets are very excited to be in the new building which is located behind the school, only a sidewalk across from their former classrooms. Though the building was completed in fall 2017, students didn’t get settled in until after the holiday break. Wiley said most of the equipment was moved in during the break, but there were still plenty of small items for students to move and organize such as textbooks, air rifles, uniforms and computers.
The facility is certainly more spacious than the classrooms the cadets were using. The program of 125 cadets did the best they could in their previous space, but they eventually began using nearby rooms used for automotive and construction classes for additional storage and their indoor air rifle range.
Now, the new facility will be able to fit the needs of
the JROTC program. Wiley said the layout of the building was a stock ROTC
building plan that they were able to modify slightly for their needs.
The two-story building consists of a large multi-purpose room that will be used as the indoor air rifle range. It will also be used for PT drills when it is too cold outside.
The second story has two spacious classrooms and two offices – one for Wiley and one for JROTC instructor Sgt. Steven Pamplin. There are also two dressing rooms, a unisex bathroom, a laundry room, an arms room and a uniform storage room.
The new facility also came equipped with brand new desks, chairs and electronic whiteboards, quite the step up from the plastic tables in Wiley’s former classroom. He said he had asked about getting new furniture before he knew about the new facility that was in the works. He was told to hold off asking for new furniture as the board had bigger plans in store for the growing program.
The board of education approved Robertson Loia Roof, Architects and Engineers as the design firm in September 2016. Carroll Daniel Construction was chosen as the construction manager for the over 7,000 square foot facility. The $1.9 million project was funded mostly by ESPLOST funds; the remaining $400,000 came from state funds.
“We got room to grow, and now the school has more room to grow and expand,” said Wiley.
With the empty classrooms, the school plans to expand
some of the electives. Wiley said he believes the culinary arts program may be
expanded into the old classrooms in the future.