COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – With less than one week until the new school year begins, a Muscogee County School District building for special education students has been declared unhealthy and unsafe by the state.
In a called meeting Monday night, school board members unanimously voted to relocate the Woodall Program from the facility on Harrison Avenue to the more modern and compliant J.D. Davis Elementary School on Shepherd Drive.
That program, which is part of the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support or GNETS, serves nearly 40 students with severe emotional or behavioral disorders in 8 Georgia counties, including Muscogee and Fort Benning.
The students deal with a range of issues from ADHD and Dissociative Disorder to Schizophrenia and having hallucinations.
After conducting an inspection on the integrity of the Woodall building, the Georgia Department of Education ordered the MCSD to vacate that building on Harrison Avenue.
Inspectors said the site had structural issues, as the building was built more than 100 years ago. Also, there was not an operating kitchen or gymnasium for students at that site.
As the Woodall Program transitions to J.D. Davis Elementary School, MCSD officials say there will be no changes proposed to the services provided to students through the GNETS Program. That includes classroom sizes of no more than six students per teacher, and continued supervision by special education teachers.
Leaders with the Muscogee County School District say part of getting the program ready for the start of school on Aug. 8 will require building a wrought iron fence to separate the student populations until teachers feel prepared to have students interact in controlled settings.