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Architect updates BOE on new Southeast Bulloch High School construction

The Bulloch County School Board discussed budgeting and obstacles to overcome in the next step in planning the development of the new Southeast Bulloch County High School.
Rendering of what a new SEB High School auditorium could look like

Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson opened the Thursday, March 28, 2024 work session by reading a proclamation from Gov. Brian Kemp, honoring School Board members and declaring the week of March 11-15, 2024 as School Board Appreciation Week. 

The proclamation highlighted the work of Georgia’s school boards, stating that the education of children is key to prosperity and growth in our state and that the community involvement and resources that educators provide for the youth is important and appreciated.

The board also received an update from Craig Buckley, President and Principal Architect of James W. Buckley & Associates, on the New Southeast Bulloch High School construction and approved personnel and contract recommendations.

They began with Julia P. Bryant Elementary School Spotlight.

Julia P. Bryant Principal Stephanie Compton introduced the fourth grade student news anchors Ansley Lavoie, Clementine Braddock and Gerard Opoku, who presented a video that they had put together about their school.


The video showed the anchors interviewing fellow students and teachers about some of their favorite things about JPB. Many students said that they enjoyed learning in their classes, playing at recess and going to lunch, while teachers commented about their joys of working in such a supporting community of educators.

Then teachers from JPB helped give a presentation about the recent successes at their school and how they are continuing to strive towards their goals.


Reading and Math

JPB is utilizing the Jan Richardson Guided Reading program alongside school-wide reading initiatives, book clubs, read-a-thons, summer reading programs and other fun events like book character parades to keep the students engaged and excited to read.

Upper elementary students can participate in Math Teams that practice for several weeks to prepare for competitions. At a recent competition, fourth graders placed first and second in team ciphering with three individual placements, and third graders placed second in team ciphering with two individual placements.

Character Development

JPB gets students excited to learn and behave responsibly with initiatives like Brainy Bear Mondays and Golden Bear Fridays. Quarterly celebration events also keep students engaged with special events for the kids throughout the school year.

The recent Scholars Recognition Assembly and Parade highlighted behavioral and academic achievements of JPB students.

True Bear Gentlemen is an initiative at JPB that provides a mentorship and beneficial activities to boys at the elementary school through a partnership with a chapter of Phi Beta Sigma. Young men visit these students twice a month and read to them, organize fun activities such as the step show during Black History Month, as well help them learn things like tying a tie.

“We never want to settle for good, we want great,” said Principal Compton.

Superintendent Wilson thanked the “Bear Nation" for caring so deeply and working as hard as they do.

From a recent visit, Board Member Glennera Martin reports that the JPB student body is energetic and highly complimentary towards their teachers. “It was just awesome,” she said 

“Our young men need role models,” said Board Member Donna Clifton, praising the True Bear Gentlemen initiative.

New Southeast Bulloch High School Update 

CLICK HERE to view the architect's presentation.

“We have some decisions to make going forward,” said Craig Buckley, President and Principal Architect of James W. Buckley & Associates. The architecture and design firm has worked with staff and the BCS board to create a master plan in preparation for the construction of the new Southeast Bulloch High School in Brooklet, Georgia.

Buckley says in meeting with countless educators and administrators, the firm has collected commentary and opinions about what should be considered in the site plan. 

Last year's initial program proposed a facility of 455,000 square feet. Since then, the plan has been amended to first accommodate closer to 1,800 students rather than 2,500. The plan however leaves room for more classrooms to be constructed as they are required with growth, and the core facilities of the high school will be able to support up to 3,000 students.

After whittling down the “Christmas list” of recommendations from staff and reconsidering the student body size, the plan is currently based on a model of a 422,000 square foot facility.

First Floor Plan
Second floor plan

Core facilities like the Auditoriums and Auxiliary Gym will not be a part of future phases, Buckley noted in his presentation; these core facilities will be built to support up to 3,000 students. 

Considered in the proposed floor plan presented at the March 28, 2024 meeting were classrooms, CTAE instructional shops, learning commons (media center), the kitchen with a food court style cafeteria, administrations, athletic facilities, the auditorium and arena style gymnasium, walkways and roads.


View the entire James W. Buckley and Associates presentation here.

Utility Contingencies of the New SEBHS

Located in Brooklet, the proposed new SEBHS will be reliant on either the city sewage system or a septic system. The plan considers either scenario and recognizes the constraints that Brooklet’s current water and sewage situation presents, as the city is in the process of connecting to Statesboro’s water treatment facilities.

Budget Contingencies of SEBHS 

Superintendent Wilson prefaced that all plans surrounding the budget are tentative, and presented an array of scenarios in which different routes of funding and construction were considered. 

Based on the projections of the scenarios and the needs of students and educators in Bulloch County, the 10 year budget plan could encompass costs of around $300 million (including the New SEBHS and two new K-8 schools needed in that time).

Superintendent Wilson says three factors were considered in building the different scenarios of this tentative 10 year plan: budget, cash flow timing, and creating the least imposition on property tax payers.

He suggests that one of the largest barriers to the new school project is cash flow timing. Superintendent Wilson says that it is possible one of the greatest accelerators to the construction of a new SEBHS would be impact aid received by the state as a facilitating grant related to the economic and industrial growth in our area.

“We don’t need a hand out, we need a hand up,” he said about the need for the grant under the circumstances of the historically unprecedented growth in this region. The board agreed that the pursuit of such a grant, proposed at around $80 million, would be a top priority but could not be waited for; the school system cannot halt progress on contingency of this aid.

A top priority is to keep funding healthy for the school already built and servicing students, but to add the necessary facilities and classrooms in a timely manner.

The board plans to move forward with the design phase of the new SEBHS, but ground breaking construction is subject to budget pressures and could begin later than originally anticipated.

Executive Session

The board entered into executive session to deliberate personnel and contract recommendations, which were unanimously approved as presented. No further action was taken before adjournment.  Below are the recommendations:



Watch the live stream of the Thursday March 28, 2024 Bulloch County Board of Education meeting here.