New Construction

Jackson County High School Opens New Facility

The Jackson County School System in Jefferson, Ga., recently opened its newest facility in time for the new school year. The new Jackson County High School was built to replace the 30-year-old Jackson County Comprehensive High School, which will be repurposed as the district’s Empower College & Career Center. The new campus measures in at 250,000 square feet and cost a total of about $69 million. Construction started in 2019.

 “When our kids came to visit the school for the first time, each time they came in, the look on their faces when they saw the space we have for them now, the learning environment…I think it’s a point of pride for our kids to say they go to this school,” said Jackson County Principal Jason Wester. “While that’s just the framework and foundation of anything, it’s a good place to start. I think our kids like coming into this building and are proud of the building, so the things we do inside the building will only magnify that, if we do the right stuff.”

The new school has already opened its doors to a population of about 1,600 students. New amenities include state-of-the-art facilities for the arts and athletics and communal spaces both in and outside of the classroom.

“I would say I’ve been most impressed with our new collaborative spaces throughout the hallways,” said student Jesse Cronic, vice president of Jackson Empower FFA and a member of the school’s golf team. “There are glass rooms where we can break out into small groups or individuals, and it works amazingly well with co-seeded classes, like my Spanish class, which is co-seeded with another, larger Spanish class.”

The building that formerly housed Jackson County Comprehensive High School has been transformed into the Empower College & Career Center, which will be used by students from both of the district’s high schools. According to the district website, “The Empower College & Career Center (EmpowerC3) is an educational partnership with businesses in Jackson County and the surrounding area. The Empower Center engages students in real-world learning experiences. Through partnerships with business and industry, higher education and our community, students work toward goals that help them reach their college and career objectives.”

“This facility is not going away,” Wester said in May of the high school’s old campus. “It’s going to be utilized by the district as a college and career center, so a lot of our students will be using this facility. They’ll be coming over to this facility for some of their career technical education classes. We’re not losing a facility—we’re adding a new one, if you will. Our kids will be on both campuses, depending on their particular needs for the courses they’re taking.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].