SPLOST recap: Is Spencer High School in need of a new facility?

SPLOST recap: Is Spencer High School in need of a new facility?

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A crack the size of a quarter separates the auditorium stage and the wall is just one of the many spaces in need of repair at Spencer High School.

"We've done repairs, on our own repairs, and if you come in the building, you will actually see where they made attempts to fill in the cracks and they've widened," explains Spencer High School Principal Dr. Johnny Freeman.

Spencer High School was built in 1978 and currently houses 800 students. Experts blame its state of disrepair is the the school was built on "plastic soil," where large cracks and sticky doors are blamed on water damage and a shifting foundation.

"We have a maintenance man on site and he has to periodically shave each one of these doors down or else we can't open them because the frames are resting on the doors themselves," Spencer High School Assistant Principal Jeffery Jones said.

A new $56 million Spencer High School is on the list of proposed projects if the SPLOST passes Mach 17. At a recent public forum, Superintendent Dr. David Lewis says there are not any long term solutions to fix the existing facility.

"At this point, we've spent $3 million [in repairs], above and beyond routine maintenance at any of our other high schools," Lewis said. "That is why we think we are throwing goof money at the bad and that is why we are moving forward with the recommendation."

Elizabeth Brown teaches in one of 22 pod-shaped classrooms at the high school. She teaches 30 children math in the space each day.

"It's very hard to create isles to walk down. When everyone is here it is just hard to walk through and help any student when they need help," says Brown.

Those against SPLOST believe that last thing the county needs is a new multi-million dollar high school. Freeman believes every student deserves a safe and quality facility to learn.

"Hopefully we are going to celebrating if all goes well and if not we'll continue to deal with it. We're going to educate kids; we're going to do the best that we can to make sure they are sage and education regardless of where we are," Freeman said.

The school system wants to stress that there is no immediate danger to students or staff in the existing Spencer High School.

Early voting for SPLOST ends Friday and the special election will be held on March 17.

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