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Forsyth County Schools plans for facility renovations following opening of new Academy for Creative Education in August
Renderings of the Academies for Creative Education building. (Manley Spangler Smith Architects)

Forsyth County Schools is planning to renovate several of its facilities this year as the district prepares for the opening of its new Academy for Creative Education building in August. 

The new ACE building, located near the Board of Education office on Dahlonega Highway where the district first broke ground on the project in November 2019, will house Forsyth County Schools’ three alternative learning programs: Gateway Academy, Forsyth Academy and Forsyth Virtual Academy. 

With the new building opening for the 2021-22 school year starting in August, the district is planning to begin renovating the Almon C. Hill Educational Center where the programs are currently housed and older ACE building, which was first built in the late 1990s and is located directly behind the BOE office. 

Chief Facilities Officer Matt Wark explained during the BOE’s recent annual retreat that student registration and technology and information services will both be moved from the Hill Center to the old ACE building where the departments will have more room to grow. The technology department will also be able to use the building’s warehouse space for technology fixes and installations. 

Wark said that with the move, the district is also planning on making changes to the Hill Center this year. First, they plan to move special education to the Hill Center along with an office for Sarah Taylor, the director of special education. This way, each program within the special education department will be in one area and more easily able to work together. 

After the renovations are completed, the Hill Center will house the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support office, special education, safety and security and food and nutrition. 

While the district also has plans to renovate the BOE office, the renovations to the old ACE building and Hill Center are a priority for the district as these buildings are more open to the general public and to its students. 

Wark said he plans to bring a contractor to the board for approval by next month and begin with the renovations in the summer. He hopes facilities will be able to complete the initial renovations by October. They expect to fully complete the renovations by February 2022. 

In the meantime, the new three-story ACE building will be available for the first day of classes in the 2021-22 school year for students involved in any of the three alternative learning programs. 

“These three non-traditional programs for grade 8-12 students have seen an increase in participants since our enrollment has increased and also due to the new options and flexibility students have been provided to obtain an education,” said Jennifer Caracciolo, FCS director of communications. 

The new building will give students and staff more space for learning and for future growth. 

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