COVINGTON — A private Christian school with more than 200 students is moving into the former Project Adventure property on Elks Club Road.
County commissioners approved Tuesday night the rezoning of 17 acres at 396 Elks Club Road from agricultural residential to agricultural and a conditional use permit to allow Covington Academy to locate on the property, which was foreclosed on and is currently owned by Newton Federal Bank.
The property has three existing buildings that will provide more than enough classroom space for the school, said applicant Glenn McCollough.
Covington Academy opened in 2008 as a tutoring center in Porterdale Mill Lofts and has grown from 60 to 224 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, McCollough said. Currently located in the old Walmart on Pace Street, the school needs room to grow to a maximum 350 students and the greenspace provided by the Elks Club Road property, he said. McCollough said there are plans to use the existing field for soccer and other games and they may build additional fields and a gym in the future. The gym will likely not be constructed for five to 10 years down the road and will require an additional conditional use permit from the county, he said.
“Our kids are real excited about the potential of going here. We can have field day on a field instead of a parking lot,” he said.
The old Walmart is 25,000 square feet but only about 12,000 square feet is usable as classroom space, he said. The three structures on Elks Club Road have more than 21,000 square feet combined, most of which can be used for classroom space. One building also includes a cafeteria.
The school will install a privacy fence bordering adjacent residential properties.
McCollough said parents are responsible for dropping off and picking up students, but there may be a bus service in the future since the school draws many of its students from Rockdale County, McCollough said.
The county engineer will recommend any needed deceleration or turn lanes based on a traffic count provided by the applicant, said Zoning Administrator Judy Johnson.
McCollough said the school will open Aug. 2014.
In other news, the board also approved a rezoning that will allow Alpha annd Omega Middle and High School to move from its current location at a shopping complex Crowell Road to a stand-alone facility at 20 Juniper Court. The property, previously used as Hagan’s Home Repair, was rezoned from light industrial to office institutional.
The school, founded in 2006, has 90 students, said applicant Wanda Davenport.