buchanan little

ACSO Lt. Lee Buchanan and ACHS principal Philip Little at a meeting of county officials at the high school on Aug. 2.

NEWLAND — Avery County Schools began classes for the 2019-2020 school year on Aug. 7. This year much remains the same, outside of some leadership shuffle and the renovations at Avery County High School.

The front of ACHS is a construction zone, with the stairs and walkways up to what will soon be the old front entrance to the school entirely gone at this point as construction continues.

County officials met outside the high school on Aug. 2 to discuss plans for parking and management of the site.

The front parking lot normally used for student parking is completely cut off while the construction is taking place at the front of the building, so the school will now be parking students and faculty around the side of the building and in small areas along the back of the school, as well as other lots near the athletic facilities.

The buses will take a one-way loop around the building, dropping off students at the back cafeteria entrance of the school and park offsite.

Avery Middle School will dismiss five minutes earlier than last year to attempt to ease the end-of-day traffic at the school.

Paving was still being completed at the high school’s side lot during the Aug. 2 meeting with new lines yet to be painted, but Interim Superintendent Bill Miller confirmed the start date for school is still Aug. 7. A change to the calendar would have to be subject to approval by the Avery County Board of Education.

There has been some leadership shifts within the school system as well. Jamie Johnson, formerly principal at Newland Elementary School, will now serve at Riverside Elementary, with Riverside’s Monet Samuelson moving to Newland.

Ricky Ward previously served as the principal for both Freedom Trail Elementary School and Cranberry Middle School, but will now only be serving as the principal at Cranberry Middle, while former assistant principal Emily Dellinger will take over as principal at Freedom Trail.

Kim Coleman has been hired as the new Assistant Principal at ACHS.

Miller said the biggest adjustment this year will be the parking situation at the high school created by the construction project.

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