The former Henry County Middle School will become a community support center.

McDONOUGH — The halls of Henry County Middle School will once again be filled with the sounds of teaching and learning.

On Monday evening during the Board of Education’s study session, April Madden, chief family and student support services officer, announced the old middle school facility will become a support center for the community.

Madden said internal and external environmental scans of the community that included district teams visiting schools and a listening tour with Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis were conducted to gather ideas for the building.

Suggestions included a welcome center, youth and community development and engagement, employment training, adult learning program, wellness programs and district professional development.

The support center was developed using community ideas and applying the district’s Core Belief No. 2 which states, “We believe family and community involvement is critical to student success. We will foster connections for families and community to support student learning.”

District employees who work with families offering services such as enrollment, health and foster care as well as family language services will move to the building. A student and family readiness center offering family connections opportunities and mentor recruitment and training will also open in the space.

Additionally, the facility will be home to an Adult Education and Extended Learning Center. It will offer the following services:

♦ Professional Development

♦ Training in computer skills

♦ GED opportunities

♦ Career pipelines — parapro to teacher

♦ Adult English as a Second Language classes

♦ Career and Technical Education Programs

♦ GED Program

♦ Drop-out recovery programs

School board members were excited about the old building’s new life.

“I think this is what our community is hungry for,” said Sophe Pope. “It’s going to truly transform lives. I love that we’re going to have a space to provide for our employees. It shows them how invested we are.”

Annette Edwards said it’s wonderful.

“Wow. The sky is the limit for Henry County. We’re reaching for the stars,” she said.

Holly Cobb called the center a bright spot.

“I am so excited about the resources we’re going to be able to provide to students, employees and community,” she said.

Pam Nutt noted the community had been “concerned” about what would come of the old middle school.

“This is a great building and has a lot of character,” she said. “I’m so happy we’re not going to walk away from this building. Thank you for putting the community first. There’s a lot we can do.”

In addition to the support center, the school’s gym and other portions of the school will become home to the county’s first ever Boys & Girls Club. The measure was approved by the BOE last month.

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