An old school is starting the year in a new building. Well, almost new. Laney High School students started the school year at the old Tubman school building on Walton Way. WJBF News Channel Six's Dee Griffin is here to take us inside on the first day.
Laney is one of seven local schools undergoing renovations funded by SPLOST. While the current campus undergoes it's biggest change in school history students have been uprooted and moved. But as I saw today, they are quickly beginning to grow where they have been planted.
Since 1953, Laney wildcats have proudly called this their den. Now, construction bins and trucks occupy spaces once filled by students and teachers. It's a sign that renovations have begun on the old building sending the wildcats into new territory two miles away at the Tubman Education Center.
Bruce Bates is the assistant principal at Laney. On the first day of school, he spent most of his time making sure students were correctly registered and lined up for classes. Bates explains, "everybody's feeling their way, learning their way. Even myself. I'm still learning my way around."
Moving more than 500 wildcats through the mammoth three story building proves to be a big task. But, it's a sign of progress for the historical school that has been swamped by students wanting to attend. "Somebody's parent or grandparent graduated from Laney. It's just rich in tradition but everybody can't. I wish we could take everyone but unfortunately we can't do that," Bates says.
He also says the staff's devotion to implementing structure and strict discipline has garnered the school recognition and respect. "We're less tolerant. We believe in discipline in our schools. We teach them to act a certain way when they go out in the public. A lot of parents know that so they need help," he says.
It's one sign that despite a new building, the old Wildcats have not strayed from their traditions and values. Bates says, "not at all. That Wildcat spirit is still here."
Laney should be at its current location for the next two and a half to three years. The alternative school has been housed at the Tubman Education Center. It is now located at the old Lamar elementary school on Baker Avenue.
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