McDONOUGH — Henry County Schools’ two newest school buildings are nearing completion. McDonough Middle and High schools are set to open for the 2019-20 school year.

On Tuesday, district officials and the Board of Education toured the facilities.

Josh Malcom, Facilities and Maintenance executive director, said while the construction is mostly complete, interior work continues.

“We’ve got the whole summer to work and we’ll be ready,” he said.

The new high school is 340,000 square feet with 82 classrooms and is designed to accommodate 1,662 students.

An estimated 1,000 Henry County High School students will move to the new building.

The middle school is 143,597 square feet with 62 classrooms and will accommodate 1,012 students. The student population at Henry County Middle School is 895. The middle school, the first in HCS, has not one, but two outdoor classrooms.

Both schools are piloting a new security feature, a card reader system that requires employees to use a card to enter the building. The reader will track who is entering the building.

Anyone who wishes to enter the building without a card will be required to buzz in. The buzzer will have a camera documenting who is entering the building.

Malcom said if the new readers are successful, they will be implemented in all the schools.

The $52.3 million cluster was constructed on a 90-acre tract of land at Ga. Highway 155 and Postmaster Drive. The project is funded using monies from the special purpose local option sales tax approved by voters in 2016. The district broke ground on the cluster in September 2017.

At the start of the 2019-20 school year, The Academy for Advanced Studies will take over HCHS building and the middle school will become office space.

The school district will celebrate the new cluster with a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 26.

Education reporter Heather Middleton joined the for the Clayton News and Henry Herald in 2002.

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