Former superintendents bid farewell to Walmer

jmink@macon.comFebruary 11, 2013 

KATHLEEN -- Two former Houston County superintendents wrote letters to resigning school board Chairman Tom Walmer, and they both read their letters aloud Monday during the school board’s work session.

Former Superintendent David Carpenter said he was surprised when he learned of Walmer’s resignation. Walmer, who just entered his fifth year as board chairman, announced his resignation Saturday during a board retreat. Walmer, who has served on the board for 11 years, is leaving due to personal reasons concerning his employment. His last board meeting is Tuesday.

David Carpenter worked with several outstanding board members during his 35 years as an educator, he said.

“Without question, your tenure on the board of education as a member and as chairman will rank among the best of them,” he said.

Former Superintendent Danny Carpenter was “totally stunned and totally shocked” to hear of Walmer’s resignation, he said.

Danny Carpenter encouraged Walmer years ago to seek election as a school board member, and, throughout the past decade, Walmer has never had a hidden agenda, he said.

“He always asked the right questions,” Danny Carpenter said. “Every issue that came up, he would study it.”

Rumble Academy

A representative from the Save Rumble movement addressed the board Monday, asking board members to consider saving the 68-year-old Rumble Academy that originally was the first Warner Robins High School.

Brian Russ, a Bonaire resident and Warner Robins High alumnus, requested that the board maintain the building “in our throw-away society today,” he said.

The building is planned to be demolished as part of a school improvement project made possible by the education special purpose local option sales tax.

On Saturday, some board members mentioned pushing back the August 2014 demolition date to give people time to develop a solution. One of the major concerns was how the aged building would be used.

Russ suggested that the building be turned into a museum or a Warner Robins Hall of Fame for prominent politicians, entertainers and athletes from the town.

He mentioned collaborating with local colleges and using the building to offer college-level classes to high schools.

Russ also suggested using the Rumble Academy to house the district’s new Edge Academy -- a program to help high schoolers catch up on missed credits and graduate. The program is scheduled to begin next school year, and officials are looking to house it in part of the Elberta Center.

McConnell-Talbert renovation

Board members will vote Tuesday on a $2.9 million contract for renovations at the McConnell-Talbert Stadium. The renovations include a visitor’s side press box, handicap seating and accessibility improvements, restroom improvements, a new track, new lights and underground storm water piping repair, according to district documents.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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