Parents gain insight of new school logistics
May 5, 2011
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - When it was announced that Chatham County would build the new Pulaski Elementary School on Hunter Army Airfield land, many people wondered how the installation's security would remain intact.
Some of those worries were put to rest when a group of parents toured the new school, which is still under construction, as part of the Hunter Spring Education Forum, April 26.
The new school, being built just off Perimeter Road near the New Savannah housing area, will not have car access onto the installation; however, parents bringing their children to school from on-post will be able to drive them up to a guarded walking gate just 200 yards from the school's front entrance.
"That pedestrian gate is the only access to and from the installation without driving all the way outside of the post, down Abercorn and Montgomery Cross Road and in through the normal civilian access," said Tim Brodman, the Directorate of Public Works project manager for the construction of the Pulaski Elementary School. "If that gate is open or can be walked-through, there will be someone there."
According to Autry McGary, school liaison officer for Hunter Army Airfield, seeing the layout in person helped parents better understand the logistics.
"I think many people were told how the access would work, but it was even better explained when we went out there and actually saw the driving loop to the walking gate," McGary said. "There, the parents saw that military Families will have a separate entrance than the general public, and I think it eased their minds that some of the security concerns they have at the current school won't be transferred to the new school."
In recent weeks, there was weekend vandalism at the Pulaski Elementary School, located on Montgomery Street less than half a mile from the Hunter main gate. But the security at the new school should prevent any such activity from reaching the installation.
At the new school, the only access from the school to the installation - the eight-foot-wide walking gate - will be manned during school hours, and locked during non-school hours.
Despite the school being on Hunter land, it is a Chatham County project and DPW's main involvement, once the area was leased and cleared, is ensuring the security of Hunter Army Airfield.
"Once land was broken, Chatham County took the lead in manning the project and we took a step back and only worked the interface between Hunter and the school meaning the fence, the gate and the parking areas, to ensure they met security requirements," Brodman said.
The school is due to be completed in late July, and will open for students, Aug. 22. All elementary school-aged children living on Hunter Army Airfield will be zoned to attend the new Pulaski Elementary School, which will hold about 600 students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
Children living in housing areas on the main post will be bused to the new school.