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Dougherty High renovations ongoing, Lee County looking to athletics facilities upgrades

OUTLOOK 2014: A refurbished Dougherty High School set to reopen in August of next year

Phase II renovation work is currently underway at Dougherty High School. The $17 million project is expected to be complete by Aug. 15 of next year. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

Phase II renovation work is currently underway at Dougherty High School. The $17 million project is expected to be complete by Aug. 15 of next year. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

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Lee County School Superintendent Larry Walters said the district has all the school building it needs, but with a move up to 6A classification next year, the systems athletics facilities are in dire need of upgrades. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — The Dougherty County School System’s most pressing need for 2014 is having a permanent superintendent in place by August, while the Lee County School System has enough buildings and is looking to upgrade its athletic facilities.

The DCSS has launched a search for a permanent superintendent and is in the process of reviewing the qualifications of 24 applicants. The system has been without a permanent superintendent since the departure of Joshua Murfree in December of 2012.

Butch Mosely has served as interim superintendent since January of last year. While Mosely has not formally applied for the position, he has made it no secret that he wants the job on a permanent basis — if the board wants him.

The district is also in the middle of two major renovation projects with another in the works. The largest is the $17 million Phase II renovation under way at Dougherty High School. System officials estimate the extensive renovations will take 14 to 16 months to complete with a targeted move-in date of Aug. 15, 2015.

After the Dougherty High work is done, the next project on tap is the final phase of renovations at Monroe High School. That nearly $30 million project includes work on the cafeteria, a new media center and a massive renovation of the school’s gymnasium.

The Dougherty school system is also in the process of upgrading the facilities at Sylvester Road School in anticipation of the relocation of Albany Early College from its current location at Albany State University. That move is expected to be made by the start of the next school year.

Academically, the system has entered into a partnership with Albany Technical College with the formation of the new College and Career Performance Learning Center, which launched late last year in the old Vo-Tech building on the campus of Monroe High School. With around 15 students beginning at Albany Tech, this partnership will allow students who may be behind in graduating from high school to remain in high school and gain some college credit through dual and joint enrollment opportunities at the technical college.

At Lee County, Superintendent Larry Walters said recently that the district, which opened a new elementary school this past year, has enough school buildings and is casting an eye toward much-needed upgrades in other areas, including athletics facilities, technology and several paving projects.

“With us scheduled to move up to the AAAAAA classification next school year, it has caused us to review our athletic facilities,” Walters said. “We are in good shape buildings-wise, but our dressing facilities are inadequate, we need new tennis courts and a new track. We have reached a time where these needs must be addressed. Improvement in these areas will just make our school system stronger.”